Road to PyeongChang 2018 (Issue #2)

Highlights on the Road to PyeongChang from the past week:

Tensions create serious concerns by observers…
Nuclear tensions cast chill over South Korea’s Winter Olympic buildup:September 12th. As mentioned in last week’s article, we will continue to see articles expressing concerns with no less than 8 articles referencing regional tensions surrounding South Korea and the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games. Here are a couple with interesting perspectives: Nuclear tensions cast chill over South Korea’s Winter Olympic buildup and South Korea have Olympic ticket sales crisis as a result of nuclear tension.

Will the Russian Federation athletes be banned from PyeongChang 2018?
17 national anti-doping agencies call for Russia ban: September 15th. Stemming from allegations on doping from the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, 17 agencies call for Russia to be banned from the PyeongChang Winter Games. The IOC and WADA hit back quickly against those calls, with investigations still ongoing. Will Russia be banned? Seems unlikely at this point, but with regional tensions, slow ticket sales, and no NHL players, any Russia ban would be another major blow to an already struggling 2018 PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games. Read more here (17 national anti-doping agencies call for Russia ban) and here (IOC and WADA hit back after NADOs call for Russia to be banned from Pyeongchang 2018).

It is nearly certain that NHL players will not participate in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games…
No late deal for NHL players at Pyeongchang — IIHF’s Fasel: September 14th. The head of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) states the “train has left the station” with regards to the NHL’s hockey players participation in the Winter Olympic Games. This finalizes the disappointment to the competitive field at PyeongChang 2018 as the Men’s Ice Hockey Gold Medal game is the most expensive ticket at the games. This will have an impact on ticket sales and fans traveling to the Olympics. Even Alex Ovechkin, who stated he would go to the games regardless of an agreement has to accept he won’t be playing in PyeongChang. Read more on the IIHF and Alex Ovechkin statements.

Way too early to consider filling seats?
Olympics: Pyeongchang 2018 Games struggle with tickets and legacy: September 13th. President of the PyeongChang Organizing committee, Lee Hee-beom has stated that due to slow ticket sales he has reached out to 17 local governments and schools to boost sales & fill seats. This move was done as a last ditch effort in London 2012 & Rio 2016 to fill empty seats but it failed in both cases. And attempts for PyeongChang 2018 may be even less practical since the school year will be in session and long travel times. All this while several Authorized Ticket Resellers are asking for more ticket allocations given the meager allocation of International tickets (25%) vs. South Korea (75%). Read more here.

Ticket sales continue to struggle which is both a good thing and a bad thing…
Winter Olympic ticket sales low amid tensions: Sepetember 12: After the first week of online ticket sales, activity remains anemic with only 69,000 of 750,000 tickets reserved for South Korea have been sold so far. While this is a bad thing for Olympics in general, this is a great thing for anyone planning to attend as no events are sold out, yet increasing the likelihood of seeing your favorites. Read more here.

Why planning a pre-Olympic trip could be lots of fun…
Fall filled with cultural events tied to PyeongChang Olympics: September 11th: In the run up to the Olympic Games, there are numerous arts and cultural events and festivals taking place. Whether you are a poet, artiest, or a musician, or just enjoy the arts there is something for everyone coming over the next few months. I personally cannot wait to see several of them on my upcoming visit in November! Read more here.

Local governments get in on “the pitch” to bring tourists to the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games…
Local gov’ts all-out to pitch PyeongChang Games for tourism: September 8th. To attract more tourism in the wake of the China ban on group tour sales to Korea, numerous local governments are making big investments to attract as many tourists as possible in the run-up to the Olympic Games. Special tours, including to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) are being promoted. Read more here.

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

  • Stay in PyeongChang for as little as $50/night! Despite delays in construction, hotel availability continues to improve on sites like You can stay at the Kumkwangjang Motel in PyeongChang for $50/night, 10 rooms available. 
  • Flights are still dirt cheap to get you to South Korea: Flights remain surprisingly inexpensive to 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. 
  • Competition schedule is out! Full competition schedule is out and available on the PyeongChang 2018 website so you can plan the details of your trips and days so see the 102 gold medals handed out. Here is the complete schedule.
  • Online Ticket watch: Dertour, the authorized reseller for Germany shows a slight decrease in availability this week to 183 ticket groups from 186 last week. Opening & Closing ceremonies still available. PyeongChang 2018’s ticketing website still has availability for all 208 sessions, with ticketing opening up to those countries without an ATR (Authorized Ticket Re-seller) on October 1st and Ticket Box Offices opening up in South Korea on November 6th.

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