People from around the globe will travel to PyeongChang, South Korea to witness the magic of the 2018 Winter Olympics up close. As you plan a patriotic outfit to don while watching the opening ceremony from the comfort of your couch on Feb. 9, you may wonder how you get tickets to watch events in the 2018 Olympics. It's actually not as difficult as you might think.
Tickets to attend the Winter Olympics went on sale a year in advance with the slogan, "get your tickets and share the passion." But unlike the average sporting event, anyone who wants a ticket must first enter a lottery (this doesn't apply to the athletes and their entourages, of course). The lottery ticketing portal closed in April 2017, and those who were chosen had about a month to buy tickets online. General ticket sales opened up after the lottery, and 52 percent of tickets had sold by late November 2017, according to USA Today.
While it's a little late to plan a last-minute trip to PyeongChang, the good news is that some tickets are still available. For anyone based in the United States, tickets are sold through an official vendor, CoSport, and start at around $180 to see two events.
Tickets to the opening and closing ceremonies are no longer being sold in the United States, but the portal does have tickets for skiing, ice hockey, figure skating, and curling. The men's ice hockey semi-finals is one of the most expensive events to see live, costing from $700-$1,200 to see both games. The cheapest tickets available to people coming to see the Olympics from the United States are for Alpine and freestyle skiing.
“We want everyone to have the opportunity to be part of the first Olympic Winter Games in the Republic of Korea and for them to come and support our national athletes and watch the best Olympic winter athletes from around the world," said Lee Hee-beom, president of the PyeongChang Organizing Committee, on its website. "It will be a momentous occasion and something we don’t want you to miss out on.”
As of last year, South Korean officials expected a million people to attend the Winter Games, with roughly 70 percent of Olympic attendees expected to be locals, according to the Associated Press. “This is a country that sold more than 8 million tickets even for the Expo 2012 in Yeosu,” Lee told the AP in September. “We can definitely handle a million tickets.”
Ticket sales did triple from the end of October 2017 to the beginning of December 2017, according to USA Today. “All in all, they feel very confident and I’ve always said that we have to trust the Koreans,” Christophe Dubi, executive director of the Olympic Games, told the newspaper. “They’ve always said there would be a boom and a last-minute surge of sales.”
If attending the games in person is out of reach for you and your bank account, rest assured that you can stream the events on NBC Sports and NBCOlympics.com. U.S. viewers lacking cable or an NBC login can watch up to 30 minutes for free on the first visit, and 5 minutes each subsequent time they tune in. Of course, you can also follow all the action on social media, including NBC Olympics' (@NBCOlympics) and individual athletes' Twitter accounts.
And if you don't find yourself in South Korea for the 2018 Winter Games, keep in mind there's a huge time difference. South Korea is 14 hours ahead of the East Coast and 17 hours ahead of the West Coast, so it might be tricky to watch the competitions in real time. But it's never too soon to start saving up for tickets and a flight for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.