PHOENIX, Arizona, April 15. YESTERDAY’S announcement that Michael Phelps was making a competitive return next week to the Arena Grand Prix in Mesa, Ariz., has pushed ticket sales for the meet to nearly sold-out capacity, spurring swimming fans to scramble for any seat they can get to watch The Greatest Olympian of All Time in his first race in 20 months.
The website for ticket sales mentions that no tickets are available for any of the finals sessions next Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Meet director Erin Shields said this morning that some prelims tickets are available, “but I anticipate selling out by the end of the day!”
If the 1,200-seat spectator section at the Skyline Aquatic Center does sell out, this would mark one of the highest number of fans attending an Arena Grand Prix meet. Naturally, interest peaked with Phelps’ announcement — as well as the chance to see almost a dozen other Olympians — and it could represent a big boost for the host team, Mesa Aquatic Club. Mesa is the newest host in the Grand Prix circuit, signing a deal in 2012 for a four-year stint. Though last year’s debut was viewed as a success, this year’s event will put a spotlight on the city east of Phoenix in a big way.
With Phelps attending the Mesa meet, tickets have instantly become a hot commodity. Surprisingly, no one is offering their ticket for sale on eBay as of this morning, but desperate swimming fans will no doubt be scouring the Internet for people looking to capitalize on what will be one of the most anticipated swim meets in the United States since the 2012 Olympic Trials.