Trip to Sochi 2014 to Break the Bank
Many fans could be priced out of going to the 2014 Sochi Olympics after one of the games' official partners revealed its tour package prices, ranging from 81,000 to 670,000 rubles ($2,510 to $20,700) per person.
Jet Set Sports offers a hockey tour, taking in a semi-final, the final, and the third place play-off, including four nights accommodation in a three star hotel for 266,642 rubles for one, and 445,476 rubles for two, Vedomosti reported.
All tour programs include breakfast, transfers to and from events and a souvenir, but they do not include train or plane fares to Sochi.
Olympics-lovers thinking of making their own arrangements will find it difficult. While prices for hockey matches on the official Olympics website range from 38,000 to 182,000 rubles, every hotel in Sochi has signed over all hotel rooms to package tour operators for the duration of the games, said Evgeny Kaplun, manager of a central Sochi hotel.
Within a 50-kilometer radius of Sochi, it is impossible to book a room during the games without a middleman, he said.
A representative of Jet Set Sports stressed that their pricing was within the rules of the International Olympic Committee and was cheaper than packages at the 2010 Vancouver games.
Jet Set Sports has been a partner of the IOC at numerous Olympics. During the 2002 games in Salt Lake City the firm was accused handing out cash to Olympic officials to curry favor. The scandal did nothing to harm its relationship with the IOC, however, and with each Olympics Jet Set Sports has catered for yet more visitors, selling 120,000 packages at the London 2012 games.
"We win business; we don't get business," said Sid Dizdarevic, the company's director. "No one gives us anything for free."