March 19, 2009 / 4:05 AM / in 9 years

Lawsuit filed over 2010 Games ticket resales

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Organizers of the 2010 Olympics have gone to court to block the resale of tickets to the Winter Games in Vancouver, and to find out who is making them available to a reseller.

The Vancouver Organizing Committee has vowed to stop the ticket scalping, and complained last year an unnamed national Olympic committee was already trying resell the tickets it will receive as part of Games operations.

The suit filed on Tuesday against Coast2Coast Tickets accuses the company of trademark violations and breaking VANOC’s agreements with ticket buyers, national Olympic groups and sponsors that no tickets will be resold.

The allegations contained in the statement of claim have not been proven in court.

Ticket scalping is not illegal in Vancouver, but VANOC said its agreement with ticket holders prohibits their transfer or resale without the organization’s approval.

The suit in British Columbia Supreme Court also names as defendants “persons unknown” who have conspired to make the tickets available to Coast2Coast. It asks the court to order the company to disclose who it is dealing with.

CONSUMER PROTECTION

An effort to reach the Vancouver-based company for comment was not immediately successful.

Coast2Coast’s website did not have any advertisements for Olympic tickets on Wednesday when news of the lawsuit became public, but a VANOC official said it was there until Tuesday when the company was served with court documents.

Lawsuits would likely be filed against other ticket brokers, a VANOC spokesman said.

VANOC received C$345 million ($276 million) in orders when domestic Canadian tickets went on sale in November, and those to many popular events had to be sold on a lottery basis because demand far outstripped supply.

International demand for 2010 tickets, which is being handled separately, is also reported to be high despite the global economic slowdown.

VANOC says the lawsuit was filed as a consumer protection action, because none of the sold or complimentary tickets have yet been distributed so resellers cannot guarantee buyers they will actually be available.

VANOC has promised to cancel any tickets it finds are being resold.

VANOC will have its own system during the Games to resell and distribute tickets. It is seeking to avoid a problem at past Olympics that seats at some sold-out events have remained unfilled when sponsors have not used all the complementary tickets they were given.

Reporting Allan Dowd, Editing by Ossian Shine

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