Beijing Olympic tickets, a new hot commodity

Tickets to the Beijing Olympics are selling like hot cakes. Two thirds of the 7 million tickets available to the public have already been sold and a further million will be released on May 1st. (Story: C. Casali)


Beijing Olympic organisers said Wednesday they were scrambling to find extra tickets to ease a shortage that has upset some overseas athletes and their families.

Competitors who have won berths to compete in Beijing are finding out that parents and other family members may not be able to see them take part in the August 8-24 Games because of a lack of tickets.

"There is definitely concern," said a ticket agent in Beijing who is contracted to supply all Games tickets to one European country.

The agent, who asked not to be named, pointed to cases including that of teenage diver Tom Daley, who will be Britain's second youngest Olympian ever when he takes part at the age of 14 but whose parents were struggling to get tickets.

The British swimming team has just 15 tickets to share between officials and the families of 35 swimmers, according to British media reports, while the cycling team has even fewer.

France's head swimming coach, on a visit here earlier this year, said his team were faring no better and that one of his biggest worries was the lack of tickets for the parents of young swimmers.

"They like to have their parents watch them, but there are very big problems to get tickets for Beijing," said coach Claude Fauquet.

Zhu Yan, the director of the ticketing department for the Beijing Olympic organising committee (BOCOG), said he was trying to help.

Tickets are "hot" and "enthusiasm for them is very high," he said at a press conference.

"The main pressure at the moment is that we are trying to provide more tickets for (overseas teams).

"BOCOG is still trying to dig out resources for the tickets so as to satisfy demand worldwide."

Beijing has allocated around 75 percent of the seven million tickets available for the Games to its vast domestic audience, with the rest going overseas. Those overseas tickets are handed over to National Olympic Committees, most of whom appoint ticket agents to deal with sales.

Beijing earlier on Wednesday announced it would hold its third and final stage of pre-Games domestic ticket sales from May 5 to June 9, putting 1.38 million on sale on the Internet and at selected outlets of the Bank of China, a Games sponsor.

The first stage of sales was held from April to June last year, selling out the domestic share of opening and closing ceremony tickets as well as some 1.6 million competition tickets by lottery.

A second phase, on a first-come, first-served basis, was launched in October but had to be suspended when excessive demand crashed the computer sales system.

Sales resumed in December with 1.8 million tickets available on a lottery basis.


Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning