Olympics 2008 Features
Olympic tickets at a price as Games head for sell-out (News Feature)
By Barry Whelan Feb 8, 2010, 21:32 GMT
Vancouver - Tickets to most events at the Vancouver Games have been sold out, but it may still be possible to get a seat to see a big event - sometimes at a hefty price.
The Vancouver Games organizers are looking to make some tickets available in the coming week, while a fan-to-fan internet market place offers another opportunity of a last-minute seat.
The organizers warn against purchasing tickets via unofficial channels. Tickets for the men's ice-hockey final were being traded for 4,500 Canadian dollars on one, well above the regular price of 775 dollars for a best seat at the Canada Hockey Place.
But offers on the organizing committee VANOC's own auction site for registered users were hardly less inflationary. Not long before the end of an auction for four centre ice seats to the men's gold medal game bidding had reached 11,000 US dollars.
The organizers are pleased with the way ticket sales have gone.
'We have had a tremendous response from all over the world and a huge demand from Canada and internationally,' said Caley Denton, VANOC vice-president for ticket and consumer marketing.
'I am confident we'll have very full venues. We are working closely with our partners to make sure every seat has a body on it.'
Organizers will put extra tickets to the opening Olympics ceremony on sale Tuesday after it conducts its dress rehearsal. It expects some more tickets will become available once it has accounted for camera positions.
VANOC has opened up a third ticket box office where Denton said people will be able to pick up pre-purchased admissions. The new one outside BC Place is in addition to the main ticket offices at Robson Square in Vancouver and one in Whistler.
Meanwhile anyone purchasing a ticket outside the official channels is being warned they may not get in.
'We've seen a lot of activities with various websites and store fronts selling Olympic tickets and we need to stress the message that the only place for legitimate tickets is the VANOC website, including the fan-to fan portion of that website, our phone lines, otherwise they may not have a valid ticket with a valid bar code and people could be very disappointed,' Denton said.
Apart from the opportunity of buying or selling tickets via the fan-to-fan marketplace, organizers are also encouraging fans to donate unwanted tickets to its Celebrity 2010 programme.
The tickets will then be distributed to families and children with limited means who would not normally be able to experience the Games.
VANOC had from the start set aside 100,000 of the 1.6 million tickets for a price of 25 Canadian dollars. Half of the tickets were to be had for 100 dollars. By the end of the Games it is hoped revenue from ticket sales will come to 215 million dollars.