Coe issues caution regarding expensive athletics prices for Paris 2024, with tickets reaching €990.

The president of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe, has expressed worry regarding the prices of tickets for next year’s Olympic Games, cautioning that they will exclude genuine fans and result in empty seats.

In an unusually direct statement, Coe, who organized the London 2012 Games, stated that he had spoken with Paris organizers to emphasize that “filled stadiums are absolutely essential” for the premier Olympic sport.

There are still plenty of tickets available for athletics at the 80,000-seat Stade de France next summer, with prices reaching as high as €990 for ‘Category First’ seats during evening sessions, and €690, €385, €195, or €85 for Category A-D tickets.

Coe, speaking to British journalists, made it clear that he was uneasy about this. “These will be the most expensive ticket prices at an athletics arena that we have witnessed at an Olympic Games,” he said. “We requested a balance. The most important aspect here is to have fans in the stadium, with affordable prices.”

When asked about his concern over the prices for next year’s Olympics, Coe confirmed that he did have concerns, while drawing comparisons to the sell-out crowds athletics experienced at the World Championships in Budapest last summer.

“We have emphasized that these prices are exorbitant. In Budapest, we had very reasonably priced tickets. While there will always be premium tickets, it is crucial that our stadiums are filled with people who love our sport, not just those who can afford to attend the Olympics.

“Our sport cannot afford to seem insignificant in major championships. It is truly unacceptable. And I do not want people to think that Budapest was an exception. This is not an isolated incident. This is the new standard. And filled stadiums are absolutely essential.”

Similar concerns about prices were voiced earlier this year by French judoka Amandine Buchard, who warned that her family would have to take out a bank loan to have a chance to watch, as well as middle-distance runner Jimmy Gressier, who asked, “How can we charge such high prices for our sport?”

Coe mentioned that he understood that Paris 2024 organizers needed to generate revenue. However, he stated, “In London, we had some expensive tickets, but we also had a lot at affordable prices. These are difficult balances for any organizing committee, but from the perspective of World Athletics, I don’t want fans or athletes and their families to be excluded from the stadium due to costs.”

Meanwhile, Coe showed his support for heptathlon world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson to win at the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year awards on Tuesday, following her remarkable comeback from a career-threatening achilles tendon rupture.

“She won something,” he said. “It’s a world championship. Of course I’m going to say this, but it does not diminish anyone else on that list. There are two truly global sports: football and track and field. And both Katarina and Josh Kerr won a world championship in one of the most fiercely competitive sports on the planet.

“Do I think there was room for both of them on that list? Of course I do. But I will be voting for her because she’s a world champion. It was an extraordinary comeback.”

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