The Canadian Olympic Committee will be releasing 1.1 million tickets for sale to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, in October 2008. Some of these will quickly appear on the secondary ticket market, but what should not appear on the market are the 480,000 tickets to be held in reserve for Olympic officials.
While Chinese officials have banned Chinese citizens from reselling tickets on the secondary ticket market, Canadian officials have already outlined a plan to prevent ticket brokers from reselling any of the tickets reserved for Olympic officials. Any tickets provided by resellers found to have originated from an Olympic official will be void. Once it has been found than a member of the “Olympic family” sold one ticket, all other tickets awarded to that individual will be void.
While this zero tolerance policy sounds simple, there could be a host of problems awaiting its implementation.
The Canadian Olympic committee will face a difficult battle to keep the tickets on the secondary ticket market to a minimum. Vancouver 2010 staff will be actively monitoring the secondary ticket market to find the source of scalper tickets by using bar-codes. Another major problem with the system is that brokers will not know whether the tickets they are purchasing are void or not. Thus, an Olympic official could sell worthless tickets to brokers, punishing the brokers, not the improperly acting official.
Even if Olympic officials comply and do not sell their tickets, hackers may yet try to buy up all of the tickets as soon as they go on sale. According to published reports, a Canadian computer science PhD candidate recently claimed he was able to bypass the purchasing limits on Tickets.com, the official provider of tickets to the Vancouver games.
However, Dave Cobb, who is in charge of Games Marketing, says that this poses no threat to the Olympic tickets. They will be rolled out with new ticket selling software not yet in the marketplace.
Of course, relying on technology for the smooth selling of Olympic tickets has proved problematic for the Beijing games, whose ticket servers crashed on their first day of operation.