, the designated ticketing agency in the U.S. (as well as Australia, Austria, Bulgaria and Sweden) for the Feb. 12-28, 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada, has announced a “Vancouver 2010 Ticketing Update,” saying “Phase 2 Ticket Sales” will commence this Thursday, May 14 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The announcement was unexpected.

CoSport, based in Far Hills, N.J., and owned by Jet Set Sports, did not say in its Web site announcement how many of these phase two tickets were going to be available, but a columnist and Olymplic blogger for the Seattle Times reported late last week that company officials told him it would be 40,000 tickets.

The tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis, and only to buyers who have established an account on the CoSport site before 9 a.m. Eastern time this coming Thursday, May 14. There is a limit of 48 total tickets per customer account.

The Seattle Times went on to report that the figure of 40,000 was a “stunner,” considering that CoSport’s original U.S. share of Vancouver tickets was 48,000, all sold late last year.

The paper went on to say that CoSport said the tickets came from two sources: an additional allotment from the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC), likely from tickets that went unsold in other countries; and a transfer of tickets from Jet Set Sports, which deals in all-inclusive Olympic travel packages. The new ticket inventory is “a very strong cross-section” of sports, Mark Lewis, Jet Set’s president, told the paper. “There are a lot of high-demand events, and medal events themselves, not just preliminaries. A good number will be sold on the first day.”

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The Seattle Times also estimates that over the course of the past 10 months, 45,000 “extra” tickets have been transferred to CoSport from Jet Set Sports. Which means that a “glorified travel agency” originally were given at least as many tickets to sell than were initially assigned to the U.S. for individual ticket sales.

The news of the unexpected allotment of tickets apparently did not go down well with Washington state residents in general and Seattle-ites in particular. By today (Monday, May 11), the paper had run a story that the original 48,000 tickets that went on sale last fall were sold and distributed through a complicated, much-complained-about lottery system. A second, much smaller ticket draw this past February – 7,000 tickets, open only to first-round participants – was reported to have turned into a Web site-crashing “fiasco.”

The massive ticket demand resulted in, no surprise, many people not getting tickets. The problem some would-be fans have is that they will get no preferential treatment for this upcoming third round. The Seattle Times quoted one of those shut-out spectators, Ed Dooley, a retired local executive: “It’s not fair, and it’s not right,” Dooley said, even going so far to say he was prepared to complain to the U.S. Olympic Committee, the Justice Department and others concerning what he calls a thorough botching of U.S. ticket sales for the 2010 Games.

Both Jet Set Sport’s Lewis, as well as CoSport Director of Ticketing Adam Wixted, were unavailable for comment.