What sports can the public access for free at the Paris 2024 Olympics?

Some disciplines will be visible from the streets or riverbank. We also explain how the ballots for ticket sales work

A photo of the Paris 2024 logo and flag against a backdrop of Paris
Some events will be visible for free, while many options still exist for people who are desperate to get Paris 2024 tickets
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The good news for people who do not manage to get tickets in the ballot for the Paris Olympics and Paralympics 2024: You can watch some of the events for free.

Open-air sports that are taking place wholly or partly in public will be visible with people able to line the streets of Paris or along the banks of the Seine to watch disciplines such as marathon running and road cycling.

Rowing, open water swimming and triathlon will also be visible to the public.

Other events that people will be able to access for free (often within designated standing areas), both within the city and outside it, include canoeing-kayaking (Vaires-sur-Marne, Seine-et-Marne), BMX racing, mountain biking and golf (Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines).

People in Marseille and Tahiti will also be able to watch the sailing and surfing events, respectively. The Tahiti events will have no paid-for seats.

The Opening Ceremony, parts of which will take place on the Seine river across six kilometres, will also be free to watch for thousands of local spectators.

First round now open

It comes after ticket sales opened on February 15 for the first round of people who were selected in the ballot. These people were given 48 hours to buy a pack of tickets (minimum three).

If they did not purchase any within their given time frame, their allocation was granted to someone else.

Three million tickets were made available for this first phase of sales, which is set to last until March 15. Anyone who signed up to the ballot will be notified by email if they are among the lucky winners. A total of 10 million tickets will be available overall, across 32 different disciplines.

When the first phase opened, Paris 2024 said in a statement: “We can’t yet know how many people will be able to benefit from this first phase as that depends on the behaviour of the first buyers.”

Read more: Tickets open for Paris 2024 Olympic Games: Here is how it works

One million tickets will be available at €24 each, equating to 10% of the total tickets on offer. There will also be 500,000 tickets at €15 for the Paralympics, out of a total 3.4 million. Half of the tickets for the Olympics will cost €50, and €25 for the Paralympics.

All events will have some tickets available at €24 but many of the seats will not be available to the public as they will be reserved for sporting associations or charitable groups (such as youth sport clubs, disabled sporting charities etc).

There will also be 100,000 tickets “financed” by the Games organising committee, in partnership with le Secours Populaire, aimed at less well-off purchasers. This system will mean that each Games buyer will be given the option to give two extra euros forward to buy tickets for less well-off families and their transport to the events.

Some tickets will be in very high demand, however, and prices will soar accordingly. Tickets for basketball could hit €160, artistic gymnastics could be as much as €260, while the athletics final at the Stade de France could reach €690 each.

The most in-demand tickets, such as the basketball final, 100m run, and swimming, could soar to as much as €990 each. And full-price Opening Ceremony tickets will cost as much as €3,000 for individuals.

Organisers have defended the prices, saying that the more expensive tickets help to fund the cheaper seats.

Former athlete and president of the games’ organising committee Cojop, Tony Estanguet told RTL: “I’m sorry that some people have been disappointed. [But] in one week, it’s really kicked off. In only a few days, people have gone for it with seats. Tens of thousands of people have been thrilled.”

How will the second round of ticket sales work?

The first round of ticket sales could close before March 15 if all three million sell out more quickly.

Many disciplines, including fencing, judo, and synchronised swimming, are sold out already. At the time of writing, there are still a few seats left for €24 for football, rugby sevens, golf and sailing events.

For those who have been disappointed, hope is at hand; the second phase of ticket sales is set to open on May 11.

What are the ticket rules for the second phase?

Just as with the first phase, people who have won a timeslot to buy tickets will be notified by the email they used to sign up for the ballot. Winners will have 48 hours to make their purchase and the tickets will be sold first come, first serve.

This time, tickets will not need to be bought in packs of three or more; they will be available individually.

There will be seats available for even the most sought-after events, such as the finals of the 100-metre athletics, the 100-metre freestyle event and team sports tournaments. Tickets for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies will also be available.

In total, seven million tickets will go on sale during this phase.

When should I sign up for the second phase?

People who have already signed up for the ballot will be included in the ballot for the second round. Anyone else will have a chance to sign up from March 15 until April 20.

Michaël Aloïsio, Paris 2024 spokesperson, told FranceInfo: “Whether you have already won in the ballot or not, it doesn’t change your chances in phase two.”

How much will second phase tickets cost?

There is no difference in cost between phase one and two. More tickets for events that still have seats remaining will be on sale, at the same price as before.

The Olympic and Paralympic Committee (Cojop) has said it cannot yet be sure on exactly how much the tickets will be, for the approximately 20% of tickets that were not offered for sale in the first phase.

In principle, tickets for all sports and tickets at the low price of €24 will again be available.

How many tickets will winners be able to buy in the second phase?

Each person is allowed to buy a maximum of 30 tickets across the two phases.

People who were lucky in the first phase, who have already bought their packs of at least three tickets, will therefore be able to buy more individual seats until this quota of 30 is reached, availability (and the individual’s budget!) permitting.

For example, someone who bought six tickets in the first phase will be allowed to buy up to 24 tickets in the second phase if they win the ballot again in the second phase.

If they have the money, anyone who wins in the ballot can ultimately purchase a maximum of 30 tickets.

What if I don’t win on the ballot?

For anyone who does not win in phase one or two, all is still not lost.

Firstly, any tickets that remain unsold after phase two closes will be put on sale in some capacity. No date or system has been defined yet, but the committee is expected to announce how it will work in good time.

Similarly, there will also be an official resale system for tickets that are returned or cancelled.

Secondly, 3.4 million tickets for the Paralympic Games will go on sale, without a ballot, from October 2023. The Paralympic Games take place after the Olympic Games, from August 28 to September 8.

Spokesperson Mr Aloïsio admitted that “not everyone will be able to access tickets [and] we know some people will be disappointed”.

However, he said that while there are only 10 million tickets available for the events in-person, the televised Games and Paralympics are expected to draw four billion spectators so everyone will be able to watch from home.

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