National

Visitors to Tokyo Olympics website face long waits as lottery winners announced; overseas sales begin

by Ryusei Takahashi

Staff Writer

Over a million people nationwide logged on to the 2020 Tokyo Games website Thursday to see if they had secured seats at their favorite events through the Olympic ticket lottery.

More than 7.5 million people registered for a Tokyo 2020 ID to enter the lottery before the May 28 deadline, according to a spokesperson for the Tokyo Organising Committee. Ticket winners are required to submit payment by 11:59 p.m. on July 2 unless they wish to opt out and forfeit all of the tickets they won, the spokesperson explained.

At around 10 a.m. on Thursday, the day the results were announced, the 2020 official ticket website was backed up with more than 1.1 million people waiting to access the site and had a wait time of more than an hour. Many took to Twitter to express their frustration, with some even questioning how many people actually won tickets and why Tokyo taxpayers were denied the opportunity to attend an event funded largely by their taxes. The spokesperson said that, while the number of people who won tickets will not be publicly released, the number of tickets sold and how many remain won’t be certain until the deadline to submit payments has passed.

“Those who didn’t get tickets this time will still be able to purchase tickets during the next phases,” the spokesperson said. “Tokyo 2020 is still working on the final number of tickets for the Olympic Games. For every event, more tickets will be made available.”

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department issued a warning that any email instructing you to follow a link to claim your tickets is fake, adding that an authentic email from the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee will not contain a link.

For residents of Japan, the next opportunity to buy tickets will be through a first-come, first-served sale that will begin in autumn this year.

For people outside Japan, the Tokyo Organising Committee will commence a third wave of ticket sales on a first-come, first-served basis in spring 2020.

On Thursday, Authorized Ticket Resellers verified by 206 National Olympic Committees around the world were also allowed to start selling tickets to the 2020 Games. Whether they actually started selling tickets on that day and by what means — a ticket lottery or on a first-come, first-served basis, or both — was up to each of the resellers and their respective national organizing committee. Each reseller can choose to sell tickets in a travel package that might also include plane tickets and hotel reservations. In Japan, however, the Tokyo Organising Committee will only sell tickets to the games.

Ticket holders will be able to sell their tickets through an official ticket reselling service that will launch in spring 2020.

About 7.8 million tickets are available for the 2020 Games but this number is expected to change — possibly by a few hundred thousand but probably not by more than a million, the spokesperson said — after venues and arenas are finished and the seating arrangements for specific sporting events are finalized.

The vast majority of tickets to the Olympics — around 70 percent — have traditionally gone to residents of the host country and that is also expected to be the case for the 2020 Games.

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