Paralympics will be The World’s 2nd Biggest Sporting Event

Pedants will want to argue for the FIFA1 World Cup,  the US Superbowl or even Angling as a mass participation sport but the London 2012 Paralympics are being billed with some justification as the world’s 2nd biggest sporting event after the Olympic Games in the same stadium and Olympic village. The claim is backed up by record ticket sales so far, with the previously unheard of possibility of the first ever sell-out Paralympics.

Paralympics Spectator Guides

Paralympics Spectator Guides

After Britain’s most successful Olympic Games in over a century wound down with the closing ceremony on Sunday, ticket sales for the Paralympics have been very brisk indeed according to Locog reports. More than 2.1 million tickets out of a total of 2.5million had been sold by Monday, and the organisers are doing their best to make sure they can call this the first ever sellout in the history of the Paralympic Games, which dates back 52 years. The previous record of 1.8 million ticket sales at Beijing in 2008 has already been overtaken. Once the sellout has been established, they will then start to release more tickets in dribs and drabs, following the same process that kept eager ticket hunters up late at night during the Olympics, hitting the refresh button again and again.

Did you know that Locog2 has a Director of Paralympic Integration in the person of  Chris Holmes, a nine-times gold medal-winning former Paralympic swimmer? He says:

We are seeing an extraordinary increase in the public appetite for these Paralympic Games. Going past the 2 million ticket sales mark has put us into uncharted territory.

Craig Hunter, the manager of Britain’s Paralympic team for the London 2012 Games said every athlete in Great Britain’s 288-strong team was ready to have the Paralympic Games of their lives.

I think the sales are showing just how much the British public love sport and sporting success. Before the Games demand was high, but has got even higher over the past few days as maybe people who couldn’t get tickets for the Olympics decide they still want to see the action and so are coming to the Paralympics. With already more than two million tickets sold we are expecting to see stadia filled to capacity. The atmosphere is going to be incredible.

IPC3 president Sir Philip Craven said:

Our aim now is to sell every single ticket. It would be fitting that when the Paralympic Movement returns to its spiritual birthplace in three weeks’ time it does so in front of packed sold-out venues.

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  1. Fédération Internationale de Football Association []
  2. the London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic Games []
  3. International Paralympic Committee []
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5 Responses to Paralympics will be The World’s 2nd Biggest Sporting Event

  1. Aquarius says:

    Yes, it would just be so pedantic to point out that the trivial matter of the World Cup is not as big a sporting event as the Paralympics.

    Actually, I don’t think I’ve read sucha deluded statemtent in a long time, I understand events need to [publicise themselves but it doesn’t mean you should make things up like that. On what conceivable level is the Paralympics bigger than the World Cup??? For a start the viewing figures would pale into insignificance.

    • Which world cup would that be? There are single sport world cups for tennis, golf, rugby, soccer and so on but the Paralympics covers a multitude of sports, 26 at the last count. 26 is far bigger than one. As for viewing figues, we shall have to see. The London 2012 Paralympics hasn’t even started yet!

  2. Aquarius says:

    Oh right, so on that basis the Highland Games and the X Games are bigger than the World Cup then given their multi-sport status? And I think you know I mean the FIFA (football) World Cup, which is the world’s largest sporting event. I’m not taking anything away from the participants in the Paralympics, but making things up about the worldwide appeal of the Games doesn’t achieve anything apart from making whoever comes out with this PR stuff look a bit silly.

    • Wel for one thing, there aren’t any women at all in the FIFA World Cup! The FIFA World cup finals are played between only 32 squads of 21 men. I make that 672 competitors compared to 4,200 Paralympians from 160 countries. That either 5 or 6.25 times bigger whichever way you look at it.

      Transport For London have no particular axe to grind in terms of bigging up the Paralympics but they say here:

      Plan your journey around the Paralympic Games

      The Paralympics is the world’s second largest sporting event, so plan ahead.
      Use Journey Planner to see how your journey may be affected

  3. Aquarius says:

    Whether there are women involved or not has no bearing on whether something is the world’s largest sporting event. And amount of competitors competing doesn’t either, last year’s Great North Run had 54,000 competitors – so is that bigger than the World Cup or Paralympics or Olympics?

    OK hold on – I take everything back….having read that TFL website I hold my hands up. I mean, what greater authority could there possibly be than the Transport for London website in determining what is the second biggest event in world sport?

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