‘Finnish’ing Off Olympic Ticketing

The Olympic Federation of Ireland has confirmed the appointment of Finnish company Elämys Group, as its Authorised Ticket Reseller (ATR) for the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Issues surrounding the role of The Hospitality Group at the Rio Olympic Games were the catalyst for the major changes that have been implemented in terms of governance, administration and attitude at the Olympic Federation, including its name change last year from the Olympic Council of Ireland.

It was obvious then that this was a choice that would be made carefully.

The process included shortlisting of a group of potential partners and due diligence being carried out on their credentials by CEO Peter Sherrard working alongside industry experts.

Interviews were conducted and pitched made before the Olympic Federation Board agreed on Elamys Group from Finland as the preferred bidder.

This was then vouched one last time by Grant Thornton ahead of an agreement being signed for Tokyo.

The care has extended beyond a signature with the deal only being for one games cycle but the hope is that once everything goes OK that this will lead to a longer-term partnership.

The financial terms were laid out in crystal clear fashion by Sarah Keane and Peter Sherrard in a briefing yesterday.

Elamys Group will not pay a fee to the Olympic federation for the right to act as the ATR.

A number of companies shortlisted did include a fee but this was deemed to be ‘not an enormous amount’ and it was the solidity of the offering to athletes, families and fans that was given greater weight.

Tickets have not been released by the Tokyo Local Organising Committee yets but more detail on the cost and the quantity available to Ireland will be revealed next month with sales commencing in June or July.

Every athlete competing at the games has the right to have two supporters at each session in which they are competing. The only exception is swimming, ironic given Sarah Keane’s ‘day job’ as CEO of Swim Ireland, who only get one.

These will be paid for by the Olympic Federation of Ireland but the administration and distribution will be handled exclusively by Elamys.

There is a maximum mark up on the cost price of the ticket of 20 per cent. This will be equally split between the Olympic federation and Elamys so there will be some financial return to Ireland, all of which will be reinvested in the athletes’ preparation for and competition at the Games.

60 per cent of the tickets above and beyond those for the Athletes will be sold to the general public and 40 per cent will be part of official packages, also managed through the Finnish Group.

The mark up on tickets in this group is capped still at 20 per cent but there can be more in relation to other elements of flights, accommodation and transit.

Elamys Group CEO Jussi Viskari was present yesterday as was Ireland Country Manager Joanne Sheridan.

The company is also the ATR for the Finnish Olympic Committee though Tokyo will be it’s first Summer Games in any official capacity.

It has 25 years experience as a travel specialist but the Winter Games in Pyeongchang were the first in which it was engaged on Olympic duty.

To be fair Finland would be a strong presence at those games and so areas of scale and delivery would have been tested in a similar way to that of Team Ireland. Finland had 100 competitors across eleven sports at those games.

Sarah Keane spoke of the 40 policies which the Olympic Federation had presented to it over the past 18 months by Honorary Secretary Sarah O’Shea covering everything from behaviour to gifts.

There has rarely been such attention to detail on everything and Keane spoke of how all gifts, including a watch from an Association of National Olympic Committees last year, per diem allowances and four gifts yesterday from the Japanese delegation were all passed directly to the OFI with no value sought or gained in a personal capacity.

No decisions have been taken yet on how many or if any of the Board of the Olympic Federation of Ireland will have tickets bought for them to attend Tokyo but you have to be confident that a decision will be reached mindful of both the volunteer effort demanded of the Board, and the way things were handled in the past.

“Given the context, the appointment of Elämys Group as ATR marks another important milestone for the Olympic Federation of Ireland, and we are pleased to have a new partnership in place focused on servicing our athletes, families and the general public in relation to their ticketing arrangements at the Games,” said Keane.

The process appears to be in good hands.


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