By Ken Hanscom, Chief Operations Officer, TicketManager
Think it’s too late to plan a trip to the 2016 Olympics in Rio? It’s not — not by a long shot.
Yes, most fans have already secured their plans for Rio 2016, but I want to share a little secret with you: Not only can you still attend the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio, but you still have the opportunity to see the marquee events and do it without paying for outrageous packages. It might not be easy, but with a little effort you can make it happen.
How do I know it can be done? Because I did it for the London 2012 Olympic Summer Games. My wife and I did not make the decision to go to London 2012 until this exact point four years ago. We did not book our hotel until mid-June and we kept chipping away at our ticket list by picking up 1–2 sets each week until we achieved our goal. We were able to see 14 Olympic events in our 10 days including:
• Michael Phelps’ last swim (what was)
• Usain Bolt’s run
• Team USA Men’s basketball in the quarter finals
• Tennis finals at Wimbledon
• USA Women’s Soccer team win the goal medal
• Closing Ceremony
And all with less than 60 days of planning.
In fact, now may be a better time than ever. Why? The Rio Ticket Offices opened on June 1st and everyone is now able to purchase right from the Rio ticketing site. You will have more opportunity in the next 60 days than at any time over the last two years to pick up event tickets. There are still over 2 Million tickets to be sold and the majority of them will be on the Rio ticketing site — with a potential ticket drop today being the largest to date.
You can do it by focusing on the 3 key areas:
There are plenty of flights available at reasonable prices. According to Kayak, you can get a flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Rio de Janeiro (GIG) in the middle of the Olympics for as low as $720. This is significantly lower than it was six months ago.
If you are in the United States, you will have two options:
- Purchase from CoSport, the official Authorized Ticked Reseller (ATR). However, this is NOT recommended, and you should avoid this at all costs unless you are absolutely desperate. CoSport negotiated an awful fixed exchange rate (2.35:1 vs. the current 3.6:1) for USA fans which means you pay 50% more for these tickets just for the privilege of being a US resident going to the Olympic Games. Plus, there is CoSport’s 20% markup.
- Purchase them directly from ROCOG (Rio Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games). They will have more inventory and the tickets will be a much better deal for you. You will also have a choice for eTicket delivery or Will Call.
In terms of your approach, I recommend the following:
- Be patient. Pick the list of events that you want to go to and stick with it. As much as you are tempted to purchase that Men’s 69K Weightlifting event (no offense to Weightlifting, simply a lower-demand event) do not do it. You will regret it when (yes, when, not if) your tickets become available.
- Check often, learn things. My biggest learning during London 2012 was that there were specific times when the ATRs released new inventory to the public. Once I learned what those times were, as painfully early and late as they were, I knew I was dramatically improving my luck.
Places to Stay
I intentionally did not mention “hotel” here. Want a 5-star hotel? Forget about it unless you plan to spend over $100k for an overpriced package. The Belmond Copacabana, the JW Marriott, the Windsor Altantico, Sheraton Grand Rio are all gone. They were gone years ago, allocated to Olympic Committees, experience providers and sponsors shortly after the 2016 Rio games were announced.
Your options will vary depending on where you want to stay and everyone will have their opinion. We really enjoyed staying at the Copacabana last year in Rio, so we chose to go back there for the Olympics. I spent close to 30 hours looking for the right place before we decided on an apartment in Leme.
Here are your options:
- Hotels: Towards downtown the Windsor Florida Hotel has availability and there are several other 3+ star hotels that have shown additional availability in the past weeks, where previously there was little-to-none. As some of the over-priced packages I mentioned before do not sell, additional inventory will likely become available, and it will go quickly.
- AirBNB: AirBNB is a big sponsor for the Rio 2016 games and there is still plenty of availability. I have used AirBNB in the past and I would estimate I spent 20 of that 30 hours of time searching apartments and contacting hosts, all of which were great experiences.
- Private agencies. I ended up choosing one of the many agencies that are renting apartments based on inventory and what I was looking for. While the agency I went with (Agencia Heidelberg) appears to have limited inventory left, there are others out there that seem to have more.
While this may seem like a lot, all it takes is a little effort for you to be able to have an amazing Olympic experience.
You can do it!