Road to PyeongChang 2018 (Issue #12)

Let’s get to the news this week with only 74 days to go…

PyeongChang 2018 says ticket sales picking up, have eclipsed the 50% sold mark…
Ticket sales top 50 pct in run-up to PyeongChang Olympics: November 26th. In the latest sales figures released by the PyeongChang 2018 Organizing Committee, ticket sales have topped 550,000 sold or 52% of the total tickets available for February’s Olympics. International sales as well as tickets packaged as part of sponsorships were included in the number, still leaving PyeongChang 2018 slower in sales than the last several games. Still, if you are planning to go and there is an event that you must see — the time is now to purchase them at

Russia will be the biggest story over the next two weeks for PyeongChang 2018…
Russia loses Sochi Olympic crown as doping scandal claims medals. November 25th. The Russian doping scandal from Sochi 2014 will come to a head on December 5th and it could have a big impact on PyeongChang 2018. In total, 19 Russian Athletes have had their medals stripped and permanent bans enforced for doping in 2014. Headlines will continue through December 5th, when the IOC is expected to rule on whether or not the Russian Federation is banned from PyeongChang 2018. With Russian fans expected to show up big in February, any ban would not only impact tourism, but will also likely free up a large number of hotel rooms and tickets for events.

PyeongChang 2018 continues to ratchet up domestic sponsorship dollars, now exceeding targeted dollars by 7%…
Domestic sponsorships for PyeongChang 2018 exceed 1 trillion won: November 27th. With several recent sponsorship signings, this edition of the Winter Games has now surpassed their projected income for sponsorships. Boasting that over 66 companies have signed on for sponsorships, which generally include both promotion and ticket assets, PyeongChang now surpasses Torino, Vancouver, & Sochi in terms of total sponsorships.

Preparations continue as Korea Rail KTX high speed train transports IOC members, Taxis prepare to be visitor friendly…
Olympics host city Gangneung to provide foreigner-friendly taxis: November 21st.Last week the IOC visited South Korea for final inspections ahead of the Olympic Winter Games. As part of their arrival, the IOC members rode the new high speed train out to the Olympic site from Incheon in 110 minutes. While the travel time is considerably longer than the initial 50 minutes that was projected, the crucial artery to access the Olympic Games is ready to launch months before the games. And, in the city of Gangneung, taxis are preparing for the arrival of tens of thousands of visitors by including signage in English to help visitors.

The latest from the world of sponsorships for PyeongChang 2018…
• AirBNB teams up with PyeongChang 2018 for more accommodation availability. In an effort to increase availability for visitors, AirBNB will be working with locals, and at this point given difficulty in finding rooms, every little bit helps.
• Dow’s technology powers the Olympics. Whether it is keeping workers in the International Media Center warm, or keeping the Bobsled track cold — Dow’s technology is on display at the Winter Games.

Latest Road to PyeongChang bits and bytes for fans who are planning or hoping to attend:

  • Hotel availability will be challenging for the foreseeable future. While challenges remain for fans trying to book accommodations, there is some hope on the horizon. Several reasonable options popped up in the Sokcho and Gangneung areas this week on and now AirBNB has entered the fray with in a deal with PyeongChang 2018. Hopefully, as we get closer to the start of the Winter Games in February, this will continue as a trend.
  • Know your travel and event distances and use my travel calculator!Understanding how long it will take you to get the venues is a key planning aspect. When making your plans, be sure to check out my Ultimate Guide to PyeongChang Travel Times piece.
  • Flight prices flat this week to get you to South Korea: Flights remain surprisingly inexpensive. Round-trip remained flat at $759 from Los Angeles to Seoul, South Korea on Hong Kong Airlines departing February 6th and returning February 16th, enough time to see the Opening Ceremonies and several marquee events. NOTE: Three weeks ago, prices were $595.
  • PyeongChang 2018 Ticket Site Watch: Despite the news about accelerating ticket sales, 90% of events are available for immediate purchase and you have your choice of pick-up, print-at-home, and mobile ticketing. A larger release of high demand tickets such as men’s figure skating went on sale early November and quickly sold out. Tickets can now be purchased at Box Office locations, at and via the Fan-to-Fan exchange. Be sure to check both the primary and fan resale sites before purchasing.
  • Authorized Ticket Resellers Watch: With the news a few weeks back on the PyeongChang 2018 ticketing site, it is anticipated the focus for Authorized Resellers will likely shift to focus only on packages inclusive of hotel rooms, hospitality, and tickets. The reason? The PyeongChang 2018 offers lower prices and more options for delivery of tickets. I will continue to track ticket availability through ATRs which remains largely unchanged with most events having available inventory from both Cosport (USA) and Dertour (Germany/EU).

Ken is the Chief Operating Officer at InviteManager. He has been featured in the International Business Times, MSN, Yahoo Sports, ThePostGame, USA Today and ESPN. For more information, you can follow Ken’s blog, connect via Twitter or email him at