The Diamond League kicks off in Doha in one week. For many, this is where the 2016 athletics season officially starts—and we should be in for a treat this Olympic year. It’s time to set your Fantasy Diamond League team, devise your list of excuses to leave work early and let your loved ones know when you should not be interrupted.
The Diamond League is track and field’s premiere series. We expect a lot from it—and it often delivers. But not all of its meets are equal. Some offer bigger names, some deliver the better performances—others schedule the rivalries we want to see. For the ticket-buying public, Track Stats has decided to look at which Diamond League meet is the “best value”. We have plotted last year’s top tier ticket prices (set by organisers) against All-Athletics.com’s competition score (the closest thing with have to an objective measurement of quality).
Best value meets in 2016: Monaco, Paris and Eugene
Top-tier ticket prices (€) and competition Scores
Firstly, these are all quality events. In All-Athletics’ list these 14 events were the top 14 invitational/one day events in the world in 2015.
But, surprisingly, it is some of the cheapest meets that are the best: Monaco (2nd cheapest), Eugene (3rd) and Paris (5th). Monaco’s competition score had a strong helping hand from Dibaba’s fantastic 1500m world record. London is fourth in terms of quality, but by far the most expensive—with 326 competition points per euro spent on a top tier ticket. Monaco delivered 2,399 competition points per euro. London’s top tier “VIP” offer may have been more substantial than the rest in the series, but even it’s second tier was still more expensive than the other top tickets, at around €177.
London had Bolt last year (and again this year), which always helps bolster sales. The question is, in order to get the single-biggest star in the sport, does the entire field lack a depth of quality? Regardless, it’s a significant revenue generator for British Athletics, which noted in its 2015 accounts that it took a £5m hit to revenue the year it did not hold the meet in the Olympic Stadium.
It’s also worth noting that the stadium is in one of the poorest areas of the capital. Monaco residents, on the other hand, aren’t exactly strapped for cash but paid almost €250 less for the best seats. Even Monaco’s cheap seats were priced at €8, while in London they were almost €31 (at constant exchange rates).
What about this year’s prices? A quick trawl of the available finish line tickets shows that the UK still has the most expensive tickets—above the famously pricey Stockholm where you pay a small premium to have a seat under the stadium roof. Doha is the cheapest at €12.18, clearly keen to pack out the stadium and show the world it’s ready to host sporting mega events.
Best seats in the house: a UK premium
Select finish line ticket prices in 2016 (€)
Eugene price is for a homestraight seat. Doha has a “VIP” package at around €24.36
If history repeats itself, Londoners might find a better Diamond League experience by hopping on the Eurostar and paying a visit to the Stade de France. It would also work out a bit cheaper.