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Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - Page updated at 11:05 a.m.

A Seattle Times special report

Freezing out the fans

The Olympic ticket monopoly: Vancouver's Olympic organizers promised an affordable, fan-friendly Games. But tickets available to the public are often out of reach, bundled into packages costing far beyond face value.

Part One

High prices put Games out of reach for many

Olympic tickets are hard to come by, and hotel rooms are scarce. But one company can help fans find both — after a hefty markup.

Timeline:Ticket sales for the Vancouver games

Athletes' families race for tickets

After years of supporting their children's dreams, parents of Olympic athletes often face an expensive, last-minute dash for tickets and lodging.

Interactive | Who gets


General Motors Place, the Vancouver Olympic hockey venue, can hold about 19,000 people. But at the Winter Games, the general public may have access to as little as one-quarter of the normally available seats. Olympic insiders, sponsors and media get the rest.

Part Two

Ticket monopoly brings one man big profit

Sead Dizdarevic, who controls most of the world's Olympic 'hospitality' business, makes an enormous profit through connections and cunning.

Hefty markup on
tickets (PDF)

Tony Law / Redux, 2008

Sead Dizdarevic carries the Olympic torch in May 2008 in Huizhou, China, in the relay leading up to the Beijing Summer Games.

Part Three

Olympic business stays in the 'family'

In the lucrative field of ticketing and travel, a small group of interconnected Olympic business insiders -- all with ties to the Salt Lake 2002 Olympics -- plays a powerful role behind the scenes.

Graphic | The tangled web of 2010 Olympic ticketing and travel

GEORGE FREY / AFP / Getty Images, 2002

Members of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee celebrate the opening of the Olympic Village in January 2002. From left in the front row: Chief Financial Officer Fraser Bullock; Olympic boosters Spence Eccles, "mayor" of the Olympic Village, and his daughter Lisa Eccles; and SLOC Chairman Robert Garff.

Part Four

Scalpers find niche in Olympic market

Vancouver Games organizers vow to crack down on the black market — even though the best source of scalped tickets is 'Olympic Family.'

If Games are sold out, why are seats empty?

Still determined to get seats? Read these tips before you buy

Fans without tickets might get lucky in B.C.


Don Dow, owner of a sports travel company, sells Olympic ticket-and-room packages to affluent clients. A former University of Washington football player, Dow stands on the sidelines at Husky Stadium during a recent game.