Ticket Sales For '18 PyeongChang Games Still A Concern; Olympic Venues Mostly Complete
Today marks 100 days until the PyeongChang Games begin, and "barely a third of tickets have been sold," according to REUTERS. Ticket sales are "weak, with 341,327 sold, or 32% of the total on offer, as of Oct. 24 -- much weaker than during the run-up" to the '14 Sochi Games. More than 70% of Sochi's tickets were "sold before the opening ceremony." But PyeongChang Organizing Committee Secretary General Yeo Hyung-koo said that there is "still time to catch up." He said that the Olympics torch relay, which began in Korea last Wednesday, will "ignite domestic interest" (REUTERS, 11/1). In S.F., Kim Tong-Hyung notes while the venues are "well planned and mostly finished, there are concerns that South Koreans' relative lack of interest in snow sports would leave blocks of vacant seats." To avoid this, organizers are making "concentrated efforts to sell these 'low-demand' tickets to schools, government organizations and public companies" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 11/1). Meanwhile, the NATIONAL POST reports only 4.3% of Paralympic tickets "had been sold as of Oct. 24" (NATIONAL POST, 11/1).
FINISHING TOUCHES: The S.F. CHRONICLE's Tong-Hyung writes PyeongChang is "finally looking like a Winter Olympics host city after more than a decade of work." With a little more than three months until the Opening Ceremony, workers are putting "finishing touches on scenic skiing and sliding venues and high-rise athletes' villages." Restaurants have "arisen in empty fields across from the Olympic Stadium, a steely arena that will stage the Opening and Closing ceremonies." The bobsled track and ski-jump mountain, nestled in hills near the stadium, might "provide the Games' most stunning images." The pentagonal, 35,000-seat stadium is another "picturesque venue -- but it's also seen as symbolizing what's wrong with the PyeongChang Games regarding the costs for hosting the event and maintaining unused facilities afterward." The stadium will be used "only for the Opening and Closing ceremonies and will be torn down after the Games" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 11/1). NBCNEWS.com's Tracy Snyder writes there are "no worries about construction delays this time around." The PyeongChang venues are "mostly complete, and some Team USA members who recently visited like what they've seen." Athletes were also "happy with the snow last winter, and organizers are promising plenty of good powder for the Games" (NBCNEWS.com, 11/1). Meanwhile, USA TODAY's Rachel Axon notes hotels "remain a question mark." The IOC has been "monitoring the progress of 11 hotels that are needed for accommodations but might not be completed on time." PyeongChang 2018 spokesperson Jihye Lee said that five hotels are "no longer being monitored because three have been completed and two more are not needed." Six more hotels are being "monitored and are scheduled to be completed in November or December" (USA TODAY, 11/1).
THINK OF THE CHILDREN: NBCNEWS.com's Snyder notes the Big Air Snowboarding event was added to the Olympic program for PyeongChang to "bring some youth appeal." It is "pretty much just as it sounds" -- athletes "hurl themselves off a man-made ramp in one massive jump and are judged on their aerial wizardry and smooth landings" (NBCNEWS.com, 11/1).