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Volume 24 No. 236
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Ticket Sales For PyeongChang Games Hurting; Foreign Officials Concerned About Safety

Ticket sales for the '18 PyeongChang Games "are weak," as sponsors are "sending smaller delegations than in previous Games and foreign officials are expressing safety concerns," according to a front-page piece by Jeong, Futterman & Martin of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. So far, organizers have "sold only about 30% of the tickets they targeted to sell world-wide, and less than 20% of the batch earmarked for South Koreans." Sources said that marks the "slowest start to any modern Games." Olympic officials said that in the U.S., the official ticket sales agent, New Jersey-based CoSport, "requested only about 18,000 tickets to sell in the first phase, which ended in September." The struggles "add to concerns among marketers and sponsors that major events like the Olympics may no longer hold public attention like years ago." South Korean and IOC officials are "adamant the February event will be safe and secure." IOC Olympic Games Exec Dir Christophe Dubi said that "'no one' is expressing doubts" the PyeongChang Games will be safe. The "sluggish ticket sales raise questions about the IOC’s strategy of holding three consecutive Games in Asia to capture interest there, though the next two Games" -- in Tokyo in summer '20 and Beijing in winter '22 -- will at least be in "larger population centers." The IOC and South Korean organizers said that they "believe they can achieve their goal of selling 90% of tickets before the Games begin on Feb. 9." Sources said that sales "historically pick up once the torch relay arrives in the host country, which will be Nov. 1." The PyeongChang Olympic flame was "officially lighted" at a ceremony yesterday in Olympia, Greece. Meanwhile, South Korea has "achieved key milestones in fundraising and Olympic venue construction, which is almost finished" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/25).