More than 7 million tickets for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games went on sale from yesterday, the organizers announced.
Orders from Chinese mainland residents and foreigners living on the mainland can be processed on the website www.tickets.beijing2008.cn and at 1,000 designated domestic Bank of China branches.
Foreigners as well as residents in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan of China will be able to buy tickets through their Olympic committees or from designated outlets at the same price.
According to officials of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG), 75 percent of the tickets are for domestic sale and the rest for sale outside the Chinese mainland.
"The ticketing process will be conducted in the most efficient, fair and open manner possible and will follow international practices," said Wang Wei, BOCOG executive vice-president and secretary-general.
Excluding those reserved for the Olympic Family, sponsors and rights-holding broadcasters, some 63,000 tickets are available for the opening ceremony at the 91,000-seat National Stadium, dubbed the Bird's Nest.
The domestic public has access to about 40 percent of the tickets, as compared with 33 percent for European Union residents at the Athens Games in 2004, said Rong Jun, head of the Olympic Ticketing Center.
To address security concerns and prevent scalping, people need to submit their photos when booking tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies, and the tickets can be transferred only once with the consent of BOCOG in advance, Rong added.
To offer the largest number of people the opportunity, BOCOG has limited the number of tickets each individual can buy - one each for the opening and closing ceremonies, and two tickets for events in high demand. For other competitions, each buyer will be limited to three to five tickets based on demand.
"Tickets to oversubscribed events will be allocated by random draw, which ensures that everyone has an equal chance," Rong said.
The tickets on the Chinese mainland will be distributed over three phases: from April to September, from October to December and from next April to the end of the Games - and will not be delivered until June 2008.
"To prevent fraud and eliminate profit-oriented resale, anti-counterfeit technologies such as electronic chips will be used in the tickets," Rong added.
To make the Olympics affordable to average Chinese residents, about 58 percent of the tickets are priced at 100 yuan ($12.9) or below, and 14 percent will be reserved for Chinese students for 10 yuan or less.
Ticket prices for the 28 sports sessions range from 30 yuan ($3.88) to 1,000 yuan.
The most expensive tickets are for the opening ceremony on August 8, 2008, which cost up to 5,000 yuan ($647.3).
Income from ticket sales is expected to reach about $140 million and BOCOG is confident of reaching the target, Rong added.
Phase 1: Until September
All tickets to the opening and closing ceremonies as well as half the tickets to the 28 sports events are on offer.
From April 15 to June 30, orders can be placed through the official BOCOG ticketing website, by submitting completed order forms to designated Bank of China outlets or by mailing a form to Beijing Gehua Ticketmaster Ticketing Co Ltd. Forms will be available at all Bank of China branches, in newspapers and on the official website.
From July to August, tickets will be assigned for completed orders. For oversubscribed events, tickets will be allocated using a random computerized selection process. Payment will be required once the order is confirmed.
Phase 2: October to December
Remaining tickets from Phase 1 and the other 50 percent of tickets to sporting events will be on sale.
Tickets can be ordered through the official website, at designated Bank of China outlets or the ticketing call center (8610-952008). Tickets will be allocated on a "first-come, first-served" basis.
Payment is required together with the ticket order.
Phase 3: April 2008 until the end of the Games
Tickets will be issued directly upon payment.
Payment can be by cash, a VISA card or from a current Bank of China account.
Source: China Daily