PyeongChang Games On Track As Host, Though Buzz Significantly Lacking
There is a "lack of local buzz" around the '18 PyeongChang Games, and concerns are "mounting about sluggish ticket sales and relations with menacing next-door neighbor North Korea," according to Thomas Maresca of USA TODAY. PyeongChang cannot be accused of "having the troubles of the last Olympic host" regarding preperations, as Rio "rushed to finish venues, housing and infrastructure before hosting" the '16 Games. PyeongChang also "offers a stark contrast to Sochi," which spent $51B on the '14 Games. The budget for PyeongChang is coming in at roughly $12.6B." Construction of venues and infrastructure are "progressing as planned" in South Korea. All 12 competition venues have "hosted test events." Construction is also "on track for athletes’ and media villages and major new infrastructure projects that will serve the two event clusters." While Rio has been "stuck with costly white elephants," PyeongChang organizers have "strong legacy plans." Still the "impact of national scandals has left a mark, from a business standpoint and by how the Games have been perceived." Organizers "aimed for sponsorship targets" of $830M, but came in below their target of 90% by the end of '16. They "now say that figure has increased to about 94% after several sponsors have signed on this year." Organizers had "anticipated selling up to 600,000 tickets in the first phase of sales, held on a lottery system, but only received 384,000 applications." Until now, about 160,000 tickets have been "allocated domestically." Overall 1.18 million tickets will be "made available, and sales will open again in September" (USATODAY.com, 6/9).