I have undoubtedly been a passionate Olympics fan, reveling in the global community and camaraderie, the sporting effort, and the spectacle. Who can resist the Olympic spirit? I've had the unique pleasure of witnessing it in person, first at Los Angeles 1984, then London 2012 and Rio 2016.
Unfortunately, though, Games and Rings won't be at these next Games. After a couple years of planning and excitement, official (old now) news is that foreign spectators will not be allowed into Japan for the Olympics. It's logical, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues, and far too many remain unvaccinated and compromised. Just holding the Games safely, without a live audience, will be a daunting challenge. This, I can understand and accept.
What sours me is the effect on Authorized Ticket Resellers (ATRs). In the U.S., CoSport has been the sole ATR from which consumers can purchase official event tickets, and thus hospitality (hotel) packages that include tickets. Ticket purchases alone carry a "service and handling fee" that now is un-refundable, so those customers will only receive 80% of their total ticket purchase back. As CoSport explains, Tokyo 2020 organizers will only reimburse ticket face value back to CoSport, so only that money is available. Why CoSport didn't purchase appropriate insurance to cover a shortfall is a different day's question.
The real hard luck customers are the hospitality package purchasers. These packages will only receive 75% of their purchase back. As these purchases tend to be pumped up with premium hotel night costs, and "VIP" lounge access and treatment, the cost can be in the thousands of dollars. In my case, the loss of 25% means I will lose more than $3,000 U.S. This is not an amount I can afford to take lightly. But what's one to do? U.S. customers are told by credit cards that it is too late to contest the purchase. Travel insurance providers claim that this isn't a qualified reason to be reimbursed. Local hotels in Tokyo reportedly refuse to return what they receive from CoSport, hampering the ability to return more than 75%. How can I have protected myself better from all of this?
Arguably hospitality package holders are key Olympic supporters, as they are fans - many athlete family members - who are willing to spend significant amounts to attend the Games and support in person. Today, I'm wary of the idea of buying a similar package ever again, let alone from CoSport. Were I to invest in an Olympics trip again, I'd take my chances - as I've done in past - with searching for accommodation on my own.
I'm wiling to try to think of my cash loss as a supportive "contribution" to the global Olympic effort. But the fact that this money is really just covering CoSport's own losses is a bitter pill to swallow.
In the meantime, another key date is coming up. April 15 is the last day to submit a request for a refund for a CoSport hospitality package in the U.S. "Failure to meet this deadline will jeopardize your refund." The other option is receive the amount as a credit toward future purchases, but how to trust CoSport again?
What's an Olympics fan to do?