More Olympic tickets go on sale this weekend 

Best chance for buyers is to sign up early

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Dreaming of seeing gold medal hockey game in 2010, or the extravagasmic opening and closing ceremonies?

Then get ready to sign onto your computer at exactly 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 6 as Olympic officials prepare to release more than 150,000 event tickets.

For the first time this will include tickets to the victory ceremonies in Vancouver. 

But how the medal ceremony celebrations will be handled in Whistler is still unclear said Caley Denton, vice president of ticketing and consumer marketing for the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC).

"Our teams have been working on getting it nailed down," he said.

"But we really don't have the final details of what it is all going to look like yet and until we do that we won't put tickets on sale, so those will likely go in our fall on-sale."

Whether or not spectators will have to pay for the Whistler celebration tickets has also not been decided, but Denton says it is likely.

To get tickets sign on to www.vancouver2010.com . Don't bother trying to get on before 10 a.m. as it will be closed off until opening time.

The site will only take Visa cards, though you can also pay offline with a cheque or money order.

Once you sign in you will be directed to an online waiting room and then chosen randomly to enter the VANOC site.

This process, says Denton, will help keep professional tickets buyers from dominating the process.

You can buy tickets for up to four events. Events have different ticket number limits but top out at eight tickets per person, per event.

There are about 5,000 tickets available for each of the opening and closing ceremonies and hundreds of tickets for gold medal hockey said Denton.

"It is the best remaining opportunity for Canadians to secure tickets," he said.

Most of the tickets have come from VANOC's work to finalize the venue configurations.

There is also a lot of demand, as National Olympic Committees are still asking for more tickets. Most sponsors have the tickets they need and a few are returning tickets due to the pressure of an economic crisis globally.

Both these groups have to pay for their tickets.

All tickets sales, including the Paralympics, are expected to generate $262 million in revenue. During this second Olympic phase the on-sale tickets for the Paralympics have been put on hold.

This week also saw the unveiling of the ticket design.

Here are a few tips to help make ticket buying easier:

• To save time, previously registered customers are advised to sign into their ticketing account at www.vancouver2010.com before June 6 to ensure their username and password are up-to-date and functional.

• New customers without an existing account can save time by pre-registering for an account before June 6.

• The Competition Schedule, including the draws for the ice hockey tournaments for the Games and ticket prices, is posted on www.vancouver2010.com to make it easier for customers to plan their ticket-buying strategy ahead of time.

• Visa is the only payment card accepted. Customers will also have the option to select an offline payment and mail in a cheque.

• Entry to the system is random - refreshing the web page will not reduce your wait time.

• Plan ahead for purchases and ensure you have sufficient credit available in your account, as purchases will be charged immediately.

• Be wary of tickets offered for sale through unofficial channels. The only official sources for Canadians for tickets to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games are www.vancouver2010.com (in partnership with VANOC's official ticketing services supplier tickets.com) and official 2010 Winter Games hospitality partners Jet Set Sports and CoSport. 

• Be vigilant about individuals or companies offering "guaranteed" tickets for sale.

• Customers may also purchase tickets by phone at 1-800-TICKETS (1-800-842-5287), and a TDD/TTY service is available for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing at 604-629-7140.

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