The super-rich are spending up to $500,000 on exclusive packages for the Paris Olympics

<span>GR8 Experience said it offered access including meet-and-greets with athletes and tours of restricted Olympic areas.</span><span>Photo: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters</span>” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTYzOQ–/ 1bbacd2f8eb2f” data src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTYzOQ–/ bbacd2f8eb2f”/></div>
<p><figcaption class=GR8 Experience said it offered access including meet-and-greets with athletes and tours of restricted Olympic areas.Photo: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

Members of the global super-rich are spending as much as $500,000 (£400,000) on ‘ultra-exclusive’ packages for the 2024 Paris Olympics, which promoters claim will include meeting athletes, access to the athletes’ village and ‘ the opportunity to be part of the opening ceremony.”

GR8 Experience, an “international experience agency” partly owned by the business manager of basketball star LeBron James and the PR manager of tennis player Rafael Nadal, is selling Olympic packages that it claims include tickets to 14 events, such as the men’s 100 meters. finals and the opening ceremony for $381,600.

In addition to the so-called Category A tickets, the agency claims it can arrange ‘money-can’t-buy experiences’ including meet-and-greets with athletes, tours of restricted areas such as the athletes’ village, private after-hours access to the Louvre and a “Dinner for a King at the Palace of Versailles”.

Barnabas Carrega, the CEO of GR8 Experience, told the Guardian that his company offered the super-rich “access not available to the public, including time with athletes.” He declined to name which athletes he had signed up, but said he had previously organized private events with Nadal and fellow tennis star Novak Djokovic, and former Italian Olympic skier Giorgio Rocca.

“For the Olympics there are a few tennis players,” he said. “And a number of athletes in different sports, but I can’t name any specific athletes.”

When asked about the cost of the meetings, he said it would “depend on the structure of the meeting,” which he said ranged from “15 minutes of taking photos and a quick chat with others who are much more involved… the spend lunch”. The price, he said, ranged from $25,000 to $500,000 “if we’re talking about one of the best athletes who spends a lot of time.”

Carrega said he was “very selective” about the athletes his company worked with and that some athletes may not provide the experience customers were looking for. “Some big name athletes, but [might] do not have the charisma necessary for the clients, others offer a real experience,” he said. “She [the athletes] It should give the impression that they want to be there, without saying ‘hello’, but within five minutes it is clear that they want to leave.”

He claimed that his company – which is partly owned by James’ business partner and manager, Maverick Carter, and Nadal’s PR manager, Benito Perez-Barbadillo – had in the past arranged for a client to spend almost a week with Nadal, including watching a match from the players box, and for another customer to play a match against Djokovic.

Carrega also claimed he could sell admission as “part of the Olympic ceremony”. While the official hospitality partner of the Olympics, On Location, is offering “Riverside Gold Package” tickets to attend the opening ceremony for €7,500 (£5,980), before taxes, along the Seine, Carrega said he could offer access “inside the Trocadéro”, where most of the ceremony will take place with a view of the Eiffel Tower. “You can’t buy this. You have to leverage your relationship with the athletes’ families and the [country] delegations.”

He said he had six to eight seats available for the opening ceremony that would cost about $25,000 each, and that he had already sold some to a long-term ultra-high net worth customer. “Obviously at this price you have to be a very qualified person to want to spend that money,” he said. “It’s the access that money can’t buy, the inaccessible level to something very, very unique and special.”

The Paris 2024 organizing committee said On Location was the only “official and exclusive hospitality provider for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games”.

“Any entity that sells hospitality packages including tickets and that is not an official sub-distributor of On Location is doing so unlawfully,” the company said in a statement. “Entry to the Athletes’ Village or to participate in the Opening Ceremony is not ticketed and is only permitted to those with valid accreditation. Anyone entering the village or the opening ceremony will be subject to multiple security checks.”

A spokesperson for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said that anyone who purchases tickets or hospitality packages outside official channels “runs the risk of tickets or packages not being delivered to them or being denied entry by the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee in accordance with the terms and conditions. conditions”.

On Location said: “Any unofficial third parties reselling hospitality tickets and packages are doing so in breach of the Paris 2024 and On Location terms and conditions and are likely acting in breach of local law. Most importantly, they jeopardize the fan experience as resold tickets and packages are identified for cancellation as part of a comprehensive enforcement program being rolled out ahead of the Paris Games.”

GR8 is promoting the cards in a detailed document sent to ultra-high net worth individuals, seen by the Guardian. When asked for more details, an agency spokesperson said: “No, GR8 does not sell tickets for the Olympic Games. As On Location mentioned, they are not an official ticket seller.

“On site, due to the caliber of their clientele (existing ticket holders/purchasers with exclusive rights) and GR8’s connections, they are able to facilitate meet-and-greets of key athletes. They sell and facilitate experiences around Olympic events, for example stays in the most exclusive hotels, VIP transport, private cultural visits and exclusive culinary experiences around the sporting event.”

“The screenshot you are referring to is part of this information deck created by GR8 for a specific family who inquired about going to Paris. GR8 lists an estimated budget for the entire experience, including a range of expected ticket costs – common across all its routes.

“When a potential customer decides to follow a certain route, GR8 connects him with an official reseller to obtain the necessary tickets. Note that the deck states: ‘No bookings have been made at this time; we will provide final figures upon availability and final customer approval. ”

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