There are only 485 all-session tickets still available for the 2024 US Olympic Swimming Trials – but that doesn’t mean it’s time to panic-buy quite yet.
With the official start of the Olympic Szn upon us, I checked in on Sunday as to how ticket sales were going. While USA Swimming has declined to share data, Ticketmaster shows counts of how many tickets are still available in each section, and I went through and did a hand-adding of those to get a sense of how well tickets are selling.
Only 485 all-session passes are currently available on the TicketMaster website – but that number is a bit misleading. USA Swimming has released tickets in tiers, first dropping all-session passes, and then releasing three-day passes. With a nine-day meet, there are three groups of three-day passes available.
But the two groups of tickets do not overlap. As an example – in section 618, there are 25 all-session passes available – an entire row. The rest of the seats aren’t available as all-session passes, but someone could purchase any other seat in that section (none have sold) as a 3-day pass for any of the 3-day groupings – at a higher rate.
In other words, there are only 107 all-session passes available in the 600 sections (the cheapest tickets) for $475.17 for the duration of the meet; but there are thousands available at the increased rate of $516.77, which is three three-day passes (there is a slight discount for the last chunk, which only has five sessions). Presumably if the 485 all-session passes sell out, USA Swimming will shift more of those 3-day seats to all-session seats.
- Note: all prices quoted exclusive of the infamous TicketMaster fees.
With such a long event, it’s very unlikely that anybody who isn’t working the meet will attend all nine days, which makes the 3-day passes by-far the hotter commodity at the meet. So I went through and also counted the number of 3-day passes available for the first chunk of the meet from June 15-17.
As of my counting, there are 23,199 tickets still available (remember, that doesn’t include 485 unsold all-session passes for seats that are not available as all-session passes). While I didn’t count through all of the 3-day chunks, upon spot check, they all appear to be on a similar scale of absence.
The value, before Ticketmaster fees, of the unsold tickets in that first three-day chunk comes to $8.16 million. If we extrapolate that to the full nine days of the meet, that’s about $24 million in unsold tickets still on the table.
To put that in scale, in 2016, the last full-bore US Olympic Swimming Trials, USA Swimming reported $5.5 million in total event revenue. In fact, the organization’s total revenue for 2022 was $29.2 million.
The challenge now is how much of that ~$24 million they can unlock. While we don’t know what the actual capacity of sections released was (we could count seat-by-seat, but I’m not going to), USA Swimming’s estimates have been “up to 30,000 attendees a session.” This implies that so far, about 6,000 seats per session have been sold (or blocked off for VIPs/families).
Most of those seats have been on the long end of the pool in the 100, 200, 300, and 400 levels. There has been little interest in the 600 level, where the views become ‘worse than TV.’
The number of tickets sold so far is well below the ~18,000 seat capacity in use at the CHI Health Center in Omaha for the last four Olympic Trials, with higher prices and worse lines of sight seeming to dampen enthusiasm. The highest price (aside from the super-VIP victory row) for 2020 Trials was $575 for 8 days of swimming; 2024 prices for a similar view have jumped all the way to $2,234.67 – roughly four times the cost (for nine days of swimming).
But the incentive is clearly there – if USA Swimming sold even half of the seats available in Lucas Oil – which is still fewer seats than the CHI Health Center had – the windfalls could be huge (without knowing what the expenses, almost-certainly increased – are). With about 6,000 tickets sold per session so far, and most of those sales concentrated in the higher-cost sections, that’s probably north of $6 million already (estimate).
But if they miss, the meet could become a huge financial boulder for the co-hosts USA Swimming and the USOPC.