Road to PyeongChang 2018 (Issue #1)

Today officially marks 5 months before the start of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. As we approach the opening ceremonies, I will share the latest developments, news and links to must-read stories on ticket prices and trends, IOC updates, corporate sponsors, and more. Fans will get a ‘what-I-need-to-know’ section on the latest logistics, which will help you prepare for the perfect experience. This post is the first part of ‘The Road to PyeongChang 2018’ series – a lively and informative gathering of news articles and commentaries as the 2018 Winter Olympics inches closer and closer.

Highlights on the Road to PyeongChang from the past week:

Will they or won’t they?
Chief organizer of PyeongChang 2018 still optimistic about N. Korean participation: September 8th. Lee Hee-Beom, the head of the PyeongChang 2018 organizing committee remains confident in North Korea’s participation in the Winter Games. “Sports are sports, and we should not confuse sports with politics,” Lee said. North Korea’s commitment and participation could lower some of the regional stability concerns in advance of the games that may be impacting ticket sales. Read the full story here.

Heeeere’s the headlines… 
Media is beginning to question North Korea’s impact on PyeongChang 2018: September 6th: Yet to be addressed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), a number of articles like this one Simmering Korean Tensions: Are Winter Olympics Worth The Trip? and this one North Korea nuclear tests spread fear among German Winter Olympic teams and this one As tickets go on sale, could North Korea derail the South Korea 2018 Winter Olympics? are surfacing around the globe questioning the impact of North Korea and the safety of the games. If the Zika virus controversy surrounding Rio 2016 was any indication, we will see hundreds of these articles the next 5 months, with or without official IOC comment.

Now you can get tickets online, but only if you live in South Korea…
Online sales for PyeongChang 2018 have begun. September 5th. For those in South Korea, the PyeongChang 2018 website started online sales for the Winter Olympic Games at 2:00pm on September 5th. The organizing committee is quoted as saying they expect tickets to sell out quickly with this new phase of online sales despite this week’s news on the results from the first phase. This might be a stretch given how slowly sales have progressed thus far. Additionally, ticket offices in South Korea will open on November 6th in a number of locations across the country. Read more here.

Winter Olympics are usually cold, but early ticket sales are FRIGID…
Ticket sales remain frigid for PyeongChang Winter Games. September 4th: Read my insights when I was interviewed alongside other experts by Ben Fischer on the details on the first phase of Winter Olympic ticket sales. Several sources report lower activity while the Authorized Ticket Resellers (ATRs) toe company lines on sales thus far. Check out Ben’s article here.

Looking for tickets? Seems you aren’t too late… 
Slow Olympic Ticket Sales Concern the IOC. September 1st: The IOC expressed concern as it was disclosed that less than 23% of the 1.18M tickets have been sold for the upcoming PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, only 5 months away and far behind Sochi 2014. Only 50,000 tickets have been sold so far in South Korea. The PyeongChang 2018 Organizing Committee has said they are not worried yet. Mmm…should they be?

This will definitely matter when your making reservations…
It’s not Pyeongyang, but PyeongChang. August 28th: Concerned about confusion internationally between the North Korean capital and the city for the 2018 Olympic Games, this message “It’s not Pyeongyang, but PyeongChang” is now appearing in marketing materials according to the Korean Culture and Information Service. “The KOCIS officials had been worried that the similarity of the two names, coupled with the much higher level of the North Korean capital’s international recognition, could cause visitors to mistake the South Korean ski town for Pyongyang.” In addition, the KOCIS added a capital “C” in PyeongChang to help with the differentiation. Read more in the Korea Herald.

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

  • More accommodations: This week on Expedia several new hotels and additional space appeared with availability. In addition, the pricing for this inventory seems to be much more reasonable in the $300/night vs. previously $800/night.
  • Ticket Offices: Official ticket office sales throughout Korea start on November 6th and will be in a number of locations across South Korea including Seoul City Hall, Gangwon City Hall, Incheon International Airport, and KTX train stations in 19 cities.
  • Flight watch: Flights remain dirt cheap reach South Korea for the Olympic Games. Round trip fare is just $661 from Los Angeles to Seoul, South Korea on Air China departing February 6th and returning February 16th, enough time to see the Opening Ceremonies and several marquee events. Keep in mind that if you are not staying in PyeongChang you could have a 3 hour transit from Seoul via train and shuttles, so plan accordingly.
  • Online Ticket watch: Dertour, the authorized re-seller for Germany shows a slight decrease in availability this week to 186 ticket groups from 191 last week. Opening ceremonies for a group of 4 is still readily available. And is now open and available for Korean residents to purchase online. All 208 sessions for the Winter Olympics have ticket availability. Note: you won’t be able to see your seats until after you purchase, a regression from Rio 2016.

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