Olympic Tickethunting

olympic tickethunting

Olympic Tickethunting

I have already received many reactions from fellow Tokyo2020 travellers. Especially with the question that we sometimes all wake up for at nights; “Tickets. Tickets… Tickets! HELP!” And specifically, with the questions; “When can I buy tickets, where can I buy them?”

This blog provides the necessary information (how-where-when) about Tickethunting. If all goes well, you have already started / finished making your Olympic dream schedule. And as far as Tickethunting is concerned, this phase has already started months ago (April 2019) and will continue even during the Olympic Games. In short; especially when you go for multiple events, prepare yourself psychologically for a long period of uncertainty interspersed with moments of euphoria! How you can visit as many of your beloved events as possible, preferably also at normal / original ticket prices, that is what this blog is about.

My own ‘Hunt trophies’’

One of my most spectacular “ticket catches” was the men’s basketball final in London‘12. With Kobe Bryant & Lebron James. Normally it was impossible to come by. I thought so too. Nevertheless, I finally got 2 tickets through the Icelandic (Iceland Air) sales organization! More than 1 year for the London Games. When registering you could not enter the country at the postal address, so many Europeans dropped out because they thought it was only for people from Iceland. I did the request anyway and send an e-mail that my address was in the Netherlands. Bingo. Below more about how ticket sales through European sales sites work.

Another example is the Women’s Hockey Final in Beijing ’08. Only on the final day itself we managed to get 2 tickets on the black market in China. Just before the (evening) competition started, there was almost no ticket for sale, there was (too) much competition and therefore the prices were sky high! We had already expected this, so we chose to look around the stadium in the morning and to check potential sellers (with a piece of paper with the code of the final). Our strategy was rewarded; some sellers on the black market have fewer nerves of steel and would rather cash immediately when the opportunity presented itself. And so, in a completely red-filled Chinese stadium, we witnessed a fantastic golden medal for our ladies.

My Top 10 Tickethunting

These are just two examples. Below my personal top 10 of Olympic Tickethunting.

At the IOC, I suggested adding this as an official Olympic discipline!

1-The Local / Japanese registration.

In May 2019, the first round of the sale was for Japanese residents. For each Games, the organizing city / country claims many tickets for the home crowd. I myself registered for tickets through contacts in Japan. We got our first tickets! After this first Japanese sales round, more tickets will probably be sold in the coming period.

2-European sales organizations (the best way for tickets (if you live in Europe that is)

In addition to the home country of Japan, the many participating countries are allocated tickets via the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) or authorized ticket resellers (ATRs). In the Netherlands that is now Sunweb. They have taken over the sale to individuals from ATP. The sale has started on back in june ’19! but will continue in 2020. Make sure you register for future sales that will undoubtedly follow (read on.)


But there are more opportunities. Due to free trade within Europe, it is not legally possible for e.g. DERTOUR (the ATR in Germany) to sell only to the Germans. And so, it is possible for other Europeans to buy tickets throughout Europe! For America, Africa, this is a lot harder and less recommendable. For Americans it is mainly via CoSport that tickets can be acquired.

The timing of sales through these national organizations varies from country to country, but most have started somewhere from June 2019. Via this link you can view all ATRs in Europe and possibly register. My advice is to do this mainly at Sunweb (the Netherlands), Eventeam (Belgium and France) and Dertour (Germany). Here I have secured most tickets in previous Games.

Important to know that in the period january 2020 – may 2020 many tickets will be sold via ATR’s. A crucial Tickethunting time.

3-Our Tickettracker

It is also important (and handy) to know that not all tickets are allocated to these national organizations in one go, but that additional ones are often allocated later in the year – even shortly before the Games. This happens often through lobbying. Europe is actually a long line of market stalls where occasionally some tickets are offered. But how do you know when to move to those market stalls? This requires Dutch technical ingenuity! Kevin Plasmans has developed a so-called TICKET TRACKER for London ’12 and Rio ’16. A piece of software that keeps track of changes on the sales websites of those European organizations and sends an email to the members at exactly those precious moments. That is really a Dutch Barbapappa trick! So, in 2011 I received an email when ICELAND had those basketball cards on offer. Ten minutes later they were gone. Without Tickettracker I would have had no chance! The Tracker is available via this link (you just must register – costs are a onetime fee of 15 euro). That gives you a lot of possibilities in the coming 9 months to get the right tickets! More on the tracker in my next blog.

Above three sales channels have been most effective with regards to my own Tickethunting. Usually I secured via these channels about 50-70% of the desired tickets, although that varies enormously per Games (Rio and Beijing were easier than London, for example). It is clear already that in Japan with the 35 million inhabitants of Tokyo we have enormous competition. But even though not everything works right away; keep trust. There are several other options. Like…


4-Online public sale sites

These are commercial websites (countless numbers) where maps or entire packages/journeys are offered. I avoid these sites. It is terribly expensive (up to 10x the normal price) and scams are lurking. But that does not mean that it cannot be a solution. Certainly not. But be alert and always check / google the site for references.

In addition, you have mutual sales between individuals via eBay, Marktplaats (NL) and other sites. As with public sale sites (the distinction is difficult to determine), the risk here is high. But I have had more success with this than with the purely commercial sites. You can sometimes try to find out via e-mail what the motives of the seller are. Are there spare tickets or is it about a cancelled trip due to circumstances? Does it look suspicious or is it simply too good to be true (what it often is). Don’t do it then!


All these sales options are particularly useful in the run-up to the Games, the following 5 options are especially valid during Tokyo2020!

5-black market

During all the Games I attended, I bought tickets at the local black market. I often paid too much, but the tickets were always valid. Luck probably. As with point 4, there are many risks here. But we sometimes consciously took the risk, especially for matches / finals where the Dutch qualified. See the example of the Beijing hockey final. We were more careful in Rio, but we succeeded there too.


6-Fall with the door in the house

This is a Dutch saying (..). Let me explain since this one seems far-fetched. But it once gave my travel companion tickets for Ranomi Kromowidjojo’s golden 100 meters (swimming). He did this by simply standing in front of the entrance with a sign “Wanted SW012”. To his great surprise, a group of Chinese people passed by, leaving them with a ticket since one person of the group fell sick that morning. Bingo.

I also once sold (spare) tickets while I only had 5 minutes before I had to go into the London metro. I stuck a note on my Orange hat and turned around to the huge waiting line for the metro. Within 2 minutes people pointed to me and a little later I was able to make people happy with the spare tickets I had. Bingo again. A market is a place of supply and demand!


7-Holland Heineken House / ATP

You also must buy tickets for the Holland Heineken House. The location of the HHH is not yet known but the organisation mentioned already that it will be in the Bay Zone. If you want to go there, keep that in mind for your schedule. It is worth it, and I will return to this in detail in one of my next blogs. The Dutch ATP organization has always had a point of sale in the HHH during the past few Olympic Games. I assume that will be the case again (via Sunweb) in Tokyo. Especially for matches with Dutch participation there are sometimes tickets for sale during the Games. Inform yourself during your Tokyo stay. You can suddenly see Pieter van den Hoogenband winning gold in Athens like we did.


8-Social Media (e.g. Twitter)

I really experienced the power of Twitter during the London Games12. Then via hashtag #Tickets a virtual marketplace was opened with people who offered / looked for tickets during the Games.

9 Network

You can also build a network via Twitter. In the preparation of London, we even met with like-minded people to exchange contacts, knowledge and sometimes also tickets. I do not know if we will organize this for Tokyo2020 but having a Tokyo2020 network that is also working on the Tickethunt will certainly help. Moreover, nice to meet up in Tokyo!

Tokyo paper lanterns

10-Faith, Hope & Love (?).

You must believe that it will work, even if it does not work with the first ballots. What we always said to each other (and I know, afterwards it’s easy to talk) was; “Yes, we now have tickets for 2 events … now we have to go”. And then you become more creative, more determined and you work harder. And yes, having hope makes the uncertain periods (somewhat) more bearable. And love? Well, you must give each other something. I will undoubtedly create more competition with the above advice, but I would love it if I could give a few people an unforgettable Olympic Fan Feeling through these blogs!

Closing. If you have comments or good tips when it comes to this planning or ticket phase, please leave a message or mail me to fanofthegames@hotmail.com.

PS: the most important sites regarding tickets:

1-The official Tokyo website with all info regarding Tickets

2-The ATR list

3-The Tickettracker

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