Beijing: The mad scramble for Beijing Olympics tickets have begun with organizers putting on sale more than seven million seats for the world’s premier sporting event. “I am happy to say that tickets for the 2008 Olympic Games go on sale globally today,” Wang Wei, the executive vice president and secretary general of the Beijing Olympic organising committee, told a press conference here.
“We will ensure that the ticket sale takes place in an efficient, fair and open manner.” Nearly 60% of saleable tickets will be reserved for residents of China, while rest of the world will get 25%, said Rong Jun, director of the organizing committee’s ticketing department. Balance will go to schools, college students and young athletes as part of an educational programme, he said.
Overseas sales will be managed by individual National Olympic Committees. “There are more than 200 countries with National Olympic Committees who are eligible to apply for tickets,” said Rong. “After they get their allocation, it is up to them to determine how they distribute their tickets.”
The 60,000 seats up for sale for the 8August, 2008 opening ceremony at the National Stadium, known as the ‘Bird’s Nest,´ are expected to be among the most sought-after of the Games, which end on 24August.
Restrictions have been imposed on the number of tickets each person can buy for main draw events like athletics, swimming, gymnastics, basketball and football. For big-draw events individuals get just two tickets each, while they can purchase three to five tickets for other events, depending on demand.
Prices have been kept low to match the limited purchasing power of ordinary Chinese, a ticketing policy that has won praise from the International Olympic Committee. Prices for sports sessions will range between $3.8 dollars to $127, with 58% of all the tickets costing less than $1.7.
Total ticket sales will generate $140 mn in income for the organizers. Chinese residents can make reservations through the organising committee ticketing website http://tickets.beijing2008.com, Bank of China outlets or by calling the BOCOG ticketing call centre.
Organizers said high-tech methods had been employed to deter forgers and that each ticket would be identified with individual purchasers and have its own embedded computer chip. Ticket transfers can be made, but only through an application process involving registering a change of name with organizers.