February 13, 2009 Features & Images » Feature Story

Good seats still available 

VANOC working on system to re-issue unused tickets

Don't give up.

Although all the 2010 Olympic tickets offered during Phase One last year have been sold there will be thousands more tickets released to Canadian sport enthusiasts later this year, say Olympic organizers.

"Try again," said Caley Denton, vice president, ticketing and consumer marketing for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games.

"In mid 2009 we will have tickets available and that has always been the plan."

When the ticket lottery was finished last year there were thousands of elated sports fans, and thousands down in the dumps.

"It is just the nature of what happens when you have demand outstripping supply," said Denton. "You are going to have some people that are happy, some people that are upset, and some people who are in between."

He acknowledged that many people were frustrated by not getting the tickets they wanted, or not getting tickets at all. He advised people to be patient for the next phase of ticket sales.

When the first round of Canadian ticket sales closed last November, VANOC announced that it was oversubscribed on 120 of 170 events, and that the value of the requests had exceeded $345 million. It apportioned the tickets by lottery.

On Dec. 12 VANOC re-opened its website to allow existing account holders to buy remaining unsold tickets. Within five hours of sales being reopened, the remaining inventory - mostly for Whistler events - had been sold.

That means Canadians' best hopes for tickets are the contingency sale this year, or the thriving scalpers market.

The men's gold-medal hockey game generated requests for about 144,000 tickets, while more than 84,000 tickets were sought for the opening ceremonies. The women's gold-medal hockey game attracted requests for more than 41,000 tickets.

VANOC hasn't said how many tickets were actually sold for any event. An unspecified number of tickets are held for Olympic sponsors and VIPs. As well, tickets are held in reserve for national Olympic committees of each participating country.

Denton said a smaller number of tickets would also be released close to the Games as final configuration of the venues is completed.

However, if this is to work VANOC must get its ticket re-issue system up and running smoothly. Denton said it's hoped the process will be in place mid-2009.

Tickets are not refundable.

Denton warned people who are considering buying tickets from scalpers or ticket re-sale agents not to go that route.

"Anytime you purchase from an unauthorized retailer you are taking a risk," he said. "We are working to provide an authorized service so people can do that, so that you can be guaranteed that your tickets is valid."

Some people have already posted Olympic tickets for sale on Craigslist, and some travel companies and ticket agents are also offering Olympic tickets for sale.

Only Jet Set Sports and sister company CoSport are authorized to sell Olympic tickets.

VANOC expects to generate $232 million in revenue from ticket sales both in Canada and internationally. Ticket prices range from $25 for biathlon and cross-country skiing to $1,118 for the opening ceremonies.

Denton also suggested people take part in the celebrations that are planned each night during the Games. Whistler will host nightly celebrations at Live Sites in the village and in Celebration Plaza. In Vancouver there will be nightly medal celebrations at B.C. Place.

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