Tickets to 2010 Vancouver Games go on sale in October
All pumped up with Olympic fever and ready to buy tickets to the 2010 Vancouver Games, now only 18 months away? Be patient, and get in line. The special one, over there, for Americans.
Seattle Times staff columnist
All pumped up with Olympic fever and ready to buy tickets to the 2010 Vancouver Games, now only 18 months away?
Be patient, and get in line. No, not that one. The special one, over there, for Americans.
The Games coming to Vancouver and Whistler — Feb. 12-28, 2010 — are expected to create an unprecedented ticket demand for a Winter Olympics, for obvious reasons. Canada is a winter-sports-crazed nation. And the presence of a secondary, similarly enthusiastic U.S. market just over the border adds to the crunch.
Vancouver organizers will place the bulk of the 1.6 million tickets on sale in October, with a lottery through the Games' Web site, www.vancouver2010.com.
But American fans won't be able to simply get in line online with Canadians. Those tickets, ranging in price from $25 for cross-country skiing to $1,100 for the opening ceremony, will be sold only to Canadian residents. Americans will need to pursue a separate procedure, purchasing through Jet Set Sports, the sole agency licensed to resell Vancouver 2010 tickets in America.
Final ticket allotments have yet to be set by the International Olympic Committee. But the pool of available tickets for Americans will be drastically smaller than for Canadians.
Tickets sold in America also will be more expensive. All tickets through Cosport, an arm of Jet Set Sports that will handle complete lodging-ticket packages as well as individual event tickets, will be sold "at prices higher than face value, and there are transaction charges," company president Mark Lewis told The Times in an e-mail.
"All of these costs are set by the IOC and [the Vancouver Organizing Committee], and our company is required to buy all of the tickets up front, and we then take the risk of resale."
It does not seem a large risk in this case.
"The U.S. is sort of special, I think, because it's our closest neighbor," said Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) CEO John Furlong. "Our view is that much larger numbers will be coming in from the United States than any other country. I've had more inquiries from leaders in the U.S., particularly in the Northwest, than from any other part of the world. We're expecting this, and we're currently sifting our way through it."
The ticket-sale process will begin in early October for both Canadians and Americans, VANOC confirmed Saturday:
• American buyers can already join a customer list, essentially a mailing list for ticket details, with no obligation, at www.cosport.com. The company says its tickets will be sold through a lottery, to be conducted by an outside accounting firm to ensure fairness. It's yet unknown how many tickets will be available for Americans.
• Canadian residents can sign up to receive ticket applications at www.vancouver2010.com. Those applications will be sorted beginning Oct. 3. For all events where demand exceeds supply, a ticket lottery will be held. Successful ticket purchasers will be informed in early 2009. Another round of sales will follow for any unsold tickets.
Vancouver organizers are taking seriously the challenge of creating packed, "intimate" environments for sports events.
"We want to make sure we do it in such a way that there's a real value to having a ticket to the Olympics," Furlong said. "It's not just another ticket to another sporting event."
They have intentionally kept seating at many venues small, both to keep construction costs down, to ensure full houses and to avoid the legacy of large, expensive facilities that sit unused after the Games.
The heated Canada-U.S. rivalry in sports such as hockey will only add to the allure, he believes.
"All of us in Canada are reveling in the idea that our biggest neighbor is coming north, and we get to take you on on our own turf," he said. "We look forward to sending you home with silver medals."
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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