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2008 Beijing Olympics Tickets Go On Sale

Updated:
BEIJING (AP) _ It could be a lonely outing for people lucky enough to get tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

In placing over 7 million tickets on sale Sunday, Beijing organizers also announced a one-ticket policy for the two most popular events of The Games _ the opening and closing ceremonies.

Overall, the Beijing Games will generate about 9 million tickets, but many are set aside for the International Olympic Committee, sponsors, dignitaries and TV broadcasters _ cutting the available total.

``As for the one-ticket only, I think that is a problem,'' said Wang Wei, executive vice president and secretary general of the Beijing organizing committee.

``China has a huge population and it is really a problem for us to give people the opportunity to watch the Olympics Games.''

In an event telecast across the country on state-run CCTV, Wang acknowledged the one-ticket policy would made it difficult for families to attend the historic event.

``To make the most people happy, we adopted the (one-ticket) policy,'' he said.

Though the policy only applies to the opening and closing ceremonies, tickets from other ``high demand sessions'' will be limited to two tickets per person.

The chance of getting any ticket is scant for China's population of 1.3 billion. Tickets in China will be sold on the Web, at Bank of China offices and by telephone.

For instance, the National Stadium will hold 91,000. For the opening and closing ceremonies, 60,000 tickets will be available to the general public for each event. Of those 60,000, 26,000 will be set aside for sale in mainland China. Organizers said this percentage was slightly better than the comparable figure for the 2004 Athens Games.

Of the 7 million tickets available for all events, 75 percent are for domestic sale and 25 percent are for sale outside of China, organizers said. Residents of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are included in the non-domestic allotment.

Ticket prices were announced last year, and organizers emphasized they'll be affordable.

The most expensive tickets will be for the opening ceremony on Aug. 8, which will cost $645. The cheapest tickets for that event will be $26.

Ticket prices for the closing ceremony will range from $19.40 to $390.

Organizers said 58 percent of all the tickets would cost $12.90 or less, in line with efforts to make the Olympics affordable to average Chinese citizens.

Rong Jun, head of ticketing for the organizing committee, said ticketing income would be about $140 million.

``And we think we can fulfill that target,'' Rong said.

In a country awash with counterfeit clothes and DVDs, Rong acknowledged organizers were concerned about fake tickets.

``In order to ensure safety, prevent fraud and eliminate profit-oriented resale of tickets, state-of-the-art anti-counterfeit technologies will be adopted,'' Rong said.

Rong said this would include electronic chips in some tickets. Asked for details of the technology, he replied: ``It's secret.''

He said if there are oversubscribed events, ticket recipients would be chosen randomly by computer.

For tickets outside China, responsibility for distribution will be on the respective national Olympic committees or their designated agents, Rong said.
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