Vancouver Games to Sell All 1.6 Million Tickets, Olympic First
David Scanlan, Christopher Donville and Mike Buteau,
February 12, 2010
Vancouver Winter Games organizers expect to sell all 1.6 million tickets for the 86 events that start today, the first time an Olympics has sold out.
â€œDemand has been huge,â€ Dave Cobb, deputy chief executive officer of the Vancouver organizing committee, said in an interview yesterday.
At the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, organizers sold 95 percent of the 1.6 million tickets available, according to figures from the International Olympic Committee. The 2008 Summer Games in Beijing sold almost 96 percent of 6.8 million tickets.
Cobb, 47, said a few tickets are being released for sale at events such as curling, the preliminary rounds in hockey and the closing ceremony, now that television cameras and other equipment are in place at the venues. Cobb said organizers expect to sell those remaining tickets.
A rebounding Canadian economy, proximity to the U.S. and strong demand from the 2.3 million residents of Vancouver, Canadaâ€™s third-biggest city, account for the strong sales, he said.
â€œWinter sports are huge here,â€ said Cobb, a former chief financial officer for the National Hockey Leagueâ€™s Vancouver Canucks.
Helps Balance Budget
The ticket sales will contribute about C$260 million ($247 million) to the Winter Games, helping organizers balance their C$1.75 billion operating budget, he said. By contrast, about a quarter of the tickets for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin were unsold as of the first day of competition.
Tickets to the menâ€™s gold-medal hockey game are in the most demand, followed by the menâ€™s snowboard halfpipe finals and the womenâ€™s figure skating, said Christian Anderson, spokesman for FanSnap.com, an Internet search engine in Palo Alto, California, that finds seats on about 50 ticket-reselling Web sites.
Prices for the final hockey game on Feb. 28 were selling on average for $3,240, more than the peak Super Bowl average of about $3,000, Anderson said in an interview.
â€œThereâ€™s substantially higher demand than the last couple of Olympics,â€ Mike Janes, CEO of FanSnap, said in a Feb. 10 telephone interview.
The first event of the 21st Winter Olympics is the preliminary round of the menâ€™s ski jumping in Whistler, British Columbia, followed by the opening ceremony to be attended by about 60,000 people at B.C. Place Stadium in Vancouver, starting at 6 p.m. local time.