October 7, 2009 / 9:59 PM / 8 years ago

2010 organizers grapple with ticket resales

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Organizers of next year’s Winter Olympics in Vancouver acknowledged on Wednesday they are still grappling over what role they should play in allowing people to resell tickets.

The 2010 Games will soon launch a website for people to sell tickets they bought but do not plan to use, but planners have not decided if they will allow them to be sold at higher than the original price.

The Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) has vigorously battled attempts by private “scalpers” to resell tickets at above face value, but says it knows people will not use its site if they can make a profit someplace else.

“It’s a significant concern that we won’t get that activity if we only allow people to post tickets at face value,” said Dave Cobb, VANOC’s executive vice president.

By having an official Internet site for reselling tickets, VANOC says it can better protect buyers from purchasing counterfeit tickets.

It is unlikely VANOC would try to limit how much of a profit sellers can make because that might also drive people away.

Tickets offered by VANOC in Canada have ranged in price from C$25 ($23.58) for events such as the biathlon to C$1,100 for the Games’ opening ceremonies.

VANOC will not take a share of any profit from tickets resold on its website, but will charge an administrative fee to cover its costs.

Ticket “scalping” is not illegal in the communities where the 2010 Games are being held, but VANOC has filed lawsuits against two private companies that were offering tickets over the Internet.

Organizers allege the companies were promising buyers tickets that they could not guarantee, a charge the companies deny.

ANOTHER ROUND OF TICKET SALES NEXT MONTH

VANOC reported heavy customer demand in its first two rounds of ticket sales, and a third round is scheduled for November. It will include some tickets that were reserved for sponsors that the sponsors have decided not to buy.

Organizers want to avoid a problem that has plagued past Games where events that had been sold out still had empty seats because corporate sponsors who bought blocks of tickets ended up not using them.

Reporting by Allan Dowd, editing by Peter Galloway

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