The Vancouver Organizing Committee is taking a page from Ticketmaster and other companies by opening a ticket resale website that allows ticket holders in Canada to re-sell their 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games tickets.
The fan-to-fan website can be accessed at www.vancouver2010.com, along with other ticketing options - ticket donations through the Celebrate 2010 program, ticket auctions for seats at high demand events like the opening ceremonies and men's gold medal hockey game, and single event luxury suites at Canada Hockey Place (General Motors Place) for select hockey games.
With these new options VANOC says it has met its goal of ensuring at least 30 per cent of seats at high demand events are available to the public, which is the highest ratio in Winter Games history. The target has also been moved up to 40 per cent. Overall, when considering all the events, the estimate is closer to 75 per cent, or five per cent more than originally planned.
Unlike other scalper options, the VANOC site guarantees that tickets are legitimate.
"We know that well over 90 per cent of Canadian ticket account holders plan to use all their tickets for the Games but a secondary market will exist where people will want to buy, sell and donate tickets," said Caley Denton, VANOC vice president of ticketing and consumer marketing, in a press release this week. "The fan-to-fan marketplace will be the safest and most secure way for Games fans in Canada and worldwide to purchase Vancouver 2010 tickets from fellow fans in Canada, as we guarantee the tickets purchased through our fan-to-fan marketplace have valid bar codes and are legitimate."
Denton warned that prices will be high in the beginning as the market is tested to see what people are willing to pay for events. He suggested lower-priced tickets will sell quickly.
He wasn't kidding. A pair of tickets for the gold medal hockey game was listed at $30,000 this week, which is 20 times the face value of $750 per ticket. Other single tickets were listed at $4,444.
The auction, which is made up of VANOC's own tickets, will include many of the most sought after events with tickets going to the highest bidder.
VANOC addresses transportation concerns
Nobody is being left behind anywhere, was the message from VANOC this week after concerns were raised that fans could be stranded in Whistler if they attended more than one event in a day during the Olympics.
VANOC vice president Terry Wright said those people would be able to return to Vancouver on the Olympic Bus Network, for a fee, and that call centre staff are receiving additional training to be able to handle the requests.
The confusion was over the wording of the ticket agreement, where Lower Mainland fans heading to events in Whistler were booked onto buses to the venue and back again. But if ticket holders opted to attend an alpine or Nordic event during the day and stayed in Whistler for an evening sliding event, for example, it was not clear whether they would be able to return to the city on another bus.
There is an additional cost involved. People attending more than one event will need to purchase a return ticket to ride the Olympic Bus Network. Tickets are available for $28 in advance, going up to $50 on Jan. 11.
According to VANOC:
• Bus tickets are now on sale for transportation on the Olympic Bus Network. This system is for those travelling from Metro Vancouver to Whistler-area events and for all ticket holders going to Cypress Mountain.
• The Olympic Bus Network is designed to transport ticket holders to and from one event per day. VANOC recommends that spectators plan to attend a maximum of one event per day to ensure they have time to travel to the venue, as well as for the security screening process and to find their seat.
• Event postponements or delays occasionally happen. By planning to attend a maximum of one event per day and allowing for ample flex time, spectators can avoid such occurrences that could hamper their experience.
• Spectators with tickets for more than one event in one day are asked to first consult www.travelsmart2010.ca to understand the bus schedules before purchasing a transportation ticket.
• Those that wish to stay longer at a second event during one day are welcome to make other arrangements for their return trip home. Visit www.travelsmart2010.ca for more information.
VANOC apologies to Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
The uproar over China's decision to have a cute girl lip sync a song at the closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics was apparently missed by the Vancouver Organizing Committee.
VANOC recently ran into hot water with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, which is playing more than 90 national anthems at the Opening Ceremonies.
According to reports, VANOC requested that the VSO pre-record music for the Feb. 12 opening ceremony, but asked that VSO conductor Bramwell Tovey step aside during the actual ceremony to allow another conductor to mime his performance.
Tovey threatened to withdraw over the request, prompting an apology and clarification of the orchestra's role from VANOC. Tovey will lead his orchestra after all.
"VANOC apologies to the VSO for putting the orchestra in an untenable position regarding the Opening Ceremonies," the organizing committee said in a release.