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The Olympic Ticket Frenzy

Posted on:2008-08-05     Posted by :林俐
By Zuo Maohong

"It's 8,000 yuan, non-negotiable," said a guy nicknamed Pangpang, whom I contacted via MSN regarding Olympics diving tickets he intended to resell.

The face value of even the most expensive domestic-sold diving tickets were 500 yuan.

Despite having already learned about recent wild ticket speculation - there had been a rumor that a ticket to the opening ceremony could fetch 200,000 yuan - I was still shocked, and admired his boldness in asking for such an absurd price.

His justification: it's an event in the "Water Cube", a marvelous piece of art which shares equal admiration as the national stadium "Bird's Nest", and China has several gold medal favorites in this field.

I asked if he could give me a discount, and he said: "That is my bottom price. There are already several people who said they would buy. I just want to see if I can sell at a better price."

He added even if nobody wanted it at that price, he could go and watch the game himself - anyway, no losses incurred.

Hearing this, I finally understood the mentality of the numerous second-hand ticket sellers online, and the motivation driving people to queue or camp for days to buy Olympics tickets during the final phase of sale on July 25.

In the previous three phases of ticket sale, one had to book tickets online and
a lottery draw would determine who got what. If the first three rounds were a test of luck, then this final phase was a test of diligence and endurance.

The impressive sight of masses gathering at various ticketing counters days ahead of July 25 dominated the news, with
hundreds of people sitting or sleeping in line with food and water brought along. Many had their family members queue in shifts. Within three days, all tickets to Olympic events in Beijing were swept clean.

Failing tests of their luck or endurance, many then placed their hope on scalpers. Ticket information sharing websites, posts about Olympics tickets transfer overflowed.

"I have made over 10,000 yuan by reselling six junk tickets," Pangpang told me. He was referring to tickets to less-favored events in China such as handball and hockey.

However, when I clicked the ticketing section of a major classified ads website several days ago, no more message about Olympics tickets existed.

On Chinanews.com, I read a story about fighting Olympic ticket speculation on August 3. It said the legal department of the
Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) had contacted certain websites and required them to delete messages regarding reselling Olympics tickets.

This is not the first time Chinese have gone into a buying frenzy over the Olympics. On July 8, the central bank issued
a commemorative bank note with a face value of 10 yuan to mark the Beijing Olympic Games.

Swarms of people rushed to exchange. In Beijing, where 300 banking outlets provided this service, the notes were snapped up within 20 minutes. It's said that in some cities, the price of this note has already been bid up to 1,000 yuan.
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