Sochi Olympic Ticket Sales Struggle; Thousands of Seats Reportedly Available

Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterJanuary 21, 2014

Jan 20, 2014; Sochi, RUSSIA; General view of Olympic rings in front of Bolshoy Ice Dome in Olympic Park prior to 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

If only everything were as simple as, "If you build it, they will come."

CBS News reports officials for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics are having a difficult time selling tickets at the moment. 

The report notes that "hundreds of thousands of tickets" remain available for those who want to leap the hurdles to get to one of the biggest sporting events of the year. 

Reportedly, there isn't just one issue facing potential Olympic denizens, but a cocktail of difficulties that are causing ticket sales to lag. 

For those wavering about traversing internationally, these are the items that are reportedly keeping you at home, according to CBS News

There are signs that many foreign fans are staying away, turned off by terrorist threats, expensive flights and hotels, long travel distances, a shortage of tourist attractions in the area, and the hassle of obtaining visas and spectator passes.

Jan 20, 2014; Sochi, RUSSIA; General view of Olympic rings in Olympic Park prior to 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Now this isn't to say that Olympic officials are in danger of wide swaths of empty seats being televised all over the world, as a reported 70 percent of tickets have already been sold. 

Still, Sochi organizers have some work to do if they are going to match the totals of recent Olympiads. 

...Sochi had a total of 1.1 million tickets on offer. That would mean about 300,000 tickets remained available.

By comparison, 1.54 million tickets were available for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and 97 percent (1.49 million) were sold. For the 2012 Summer Games in London, organizers sold 97 percent (8.2 million) of their 8.5 million tickets.

The International Olympic Committee's Gerhard Heiberg stated simply, "Some people are scared it costs too much and other people are scared because of security." The committee member from Norway continued, "From my country, I know that several people and companies are not going for these two reasons. Of course, there will be Norwegians there but not as many as we are used to."

The Guardian recently reported that a terrorist group not only claimed responsibility for suicide bombings carried out in December, but also insinuated more attacks were on the way, targeting the Sochi Olympics specifically. 

CNN now reports local police officials are actively searching for a woman they believe to be a terrorist threat. However, the same report does offer that the region will be heavily monitored. 

For one, the United States military is preparing to have two warships and transports in the unlikely event American athletes and officials will need to be transported from the area.

Also, Russian president Vladimir Putin has vowed to maintain security, issuing that, "40,000 members of Russia's police and security forces would be guarding events."

Alexei Nikolsky/Associated Press

USA Today's Kelly Whiteside reports the fun and frivolity of seeing the Olympics with your family comes at a hefty price. 

Merely getting a hotel reservation has been problematic for some, a necessity if you are going to acquire a Russian visa. 

While the report doesn't state how many people are in his party, U.S. luge athlete Matt Mortensen's family was quoted a whopping $8,000 for a package travel deal, one that didn't include airfare. 

If you are still game to see some world-class athletes compete for gold, CBS News gives us a sense of the prices you might be looking at for some events.

The cheapest tickets go for 500 rubles ($15), the most expensive for 40,000 rubles ($1,200). More than half of all tickets cost less than 5,000 rubles ($150). The average monthly salary in Russia is 30,000 rubles ($890).

Despite that stunning average salary, CBS News reports about 75 percent of fans making their way to various events in Sochi will be Russian. 

So a jaunt to Sochi to take in the majesty of the Winter Olympics seems to be just as arduous for those who are actually competing in the Games. 

If you are willing to go through extensive security measures, pay a handsome sum on accommodations and jump possible travel hurdles, you just might get to enjoy something of a rarity: a tremendous selection of seats. 


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