Olympic tickets lottery system under way
BEIJING (AP) ” A revised ticketing system for the Beijing Olympics was under way Monday, this time using a lottery after a computer program overloaded and crashed six weeks ago trying to sell tickets on a first-come, first-served basis.
The lottery system was also used to distribute about 1.5 million tickets during the first phase of ticket sales in April.
Applicants have until Dec. 30 to enter the lottery, which can be done over the Internet or in person at Bank of China offices.
Lines were modest Monday at Bank of China offices, which are being used mainly by people who lack access to the Internet.
“I came here very early and that demonstrates my eagerness,” said Beijing resident Song Wei. “I know I can come later because it is a lottery policy, but I hope I can get some tickets successfully this time. I have failed to get any tickets the past two times.”
More than 7 million tickets will be sold for the Beijing Olympics. Overall, the Beijing Games will generate about 9 million tickets, but a large chunk is set aside for the International Olympic Committee, sponsors, dignitaries and TV broadcasters ” cutting the total available to the public.
The online ticketing glitch and worries about Beijing’s air pollution have become two of the major concerns in Olympic preparations, which have gone smoothly with all but one venue set to be completed by the end of the year.
“The Beijing organizing committee has drawn lessons from the system crash last time,” said Xu Chen, general manager of Olympic Affairs for the Bank of China. “Organizers adjusted the sales policy after the accident.”
The head of ticketing was fired over the ticketing mix up.
The high demand is reportedly creating a black market with tickets being offered for sale on the Internet at several times face value. Zhu Yan, the new director of ticketing for the Olympics, said recently that tickets could be transferred, but not at a profit.
Tickets for the Beijing Olympics can be tracked to the original buyer, but this does not seem to be a deterrent. International Olympic Committee officials have said it’s up to local organizers to see that tickets are not resold at a profit, which has also been a problem at recent Olympics.
Under the initial lottery system, people could apply for up to 50 tickets. This time the limit is eight.