Demand for Tokyo Olympics tickets is already outrageous, second Japan lottery being planned

The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics are just over a year away, but tickets are already a hot commodity. In fact, demand is already so incredible that, according to the New York Daily News, organizers are being forced to plan a second ticket lottery for residents of Japan.

Saying that the demand is incredible doesn’t appropriately describe it. Demand for tickets just within Japan is unprecedented, outpacing even the most generous expectations. The first ticket lottery left millions unsatisfied, so a second one is being planned for the end of 2019. However, lack of availability will likely leave millions unhappy once again.

Availability could change, but according to the Daily News, about half of the 7.8 million Olympics tickets are already promised to a specific market. In previous Olympics, 25 percent of all tickets were reserved for sponsors, dignitaries, the Olympic committees from 200 countries, and other high-ranking officials. Twenty-to-30 percent are made available for international sale through authorized ticket resellers. The rest, around 50 percent, is for residents of Japan.

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Tickets are already in high demand for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. (REUTERS/Issei Kato)
Tickets are already in high demand for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. (REUTERS/Issei Kato)

Foreign ticket sales recently started, and demand is already off the charts. Greg Harney, the senior adviser for Cartan Global (the authorized reseller for much of Latin America and the Caribbean), told the Associated Press, “I’ve never, never seen interest in attending the Olympics like we have in Tokyo.”

Some of that demand is due to the overall popularity of the Summer Olympics, and the attractiveness of Tokyo as a tourist destination. But the local demand is all about population. Thirty-five million people live in the greater Tokyo area, and as of last month 7.5 million — over 20 percent — had applied for four million-to-five million tickets. Individuals can apply for numerous tickets, which means demand is far outpacing supply.

Residents who strike out in the lottery will also have trouble finding tickets on the secondary market. Japan has passed an anti-scalping law, which caries a one million yen fine (around $9,200) and/or one year in jail. This law is expected to negatively impact ticket resellers like StubHub, which has sold Olympics tickets in the past.

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