The record demand for tickets to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games has been attributed to the unprecedented demand for Olympic tickets.
Organisers said last week they have sold 600,000 Paralympic tickets in the first of several lotteries, though, despite previous reports, this is below London 2012’s first sales phase which shifted one million tickets.
London reached 2.7 million ticket sales for the Paralympic Games, while Tokyo organisers are estimating that only 2.3 million tickets will be available.
Craig Spence, the spokesman for the International Paralympic Committee, said, according to the Associated Press news agency: “The demand for tickets has absolutely blown London out of the water.”
The exact number of Paralympic tickets that were requested in the first lottery phase has not been revealed, and organisers have repeatedly refused to give any details on the level of demand in Japan for tickets.
Tokyo spokesman Masa Takaya told the AP that the reason for not disclosing ticket demand was to protect “future sales strategy.”
Michael Payne, the former International Olympic Committee (IOC) marketing director, said unprecedented demand had complicated things for organisers.
Payne said in an email: “It’s complex with many moving parts. There are 30-plus sports as opposed to one, all happening at the same time and historic levels of demand.”
Alibaba, the Chinese online e-commerce company, was appointed earlier this year by the IOC to handle ticketing beginning with the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
The IOC said Alibaba is to handle all ticketing and data management services over “several Games” but did not specify how many, or how the data would be managed or secured.
For the Olympics, Tokyo has sold 3.57 million tickets to Japan residents through two lotteries, with the domestic audience to be handed between 70-80 per cent of the estimated 7.8 million tickets that are listed as available.
The rest of the tickets are sold outside Japan through Authorised Ticket Resellers (ATR), or go to sponsors, national Olympic committees, sports federations and dignitaries.