China puts 7 million Olympic tickets on sale

Chinese nationals and foreigners living in China can now book the more than seven million tickets available for the 2008 Olympic Games, organizers said on Sunday.

Orders can be processed on the website ( and at 1,000 designated Bank of China branches, but tickets will not be delivered until June 2008.

"All the tickets to the opening and closing ceremonies as well as half of the tickets to 28 sports are on offer in the first phase of sales which will last until June 30," Rong Jun, head of the Olympic Ticketing Center, told a press conference.

The second leg of domestic sales will kick off in October 2007 and run through December 2007. Remaining available tickets from Phase One and the other 50 percent of sports tickets for domestic public will be on sale in this period. The public can also book tickets in Phase Two by calling BOCOG ticketing call center (8610-952008).

Foreigners as well as residents in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan would be able to buy Olympic tickets through their Olympic Committees or from designated outlets at the same price, said Rong.

"One the whole, about 25 percent of the seven million tickets will go to overseas public," he said.

Each person is allowed to buy only one ticket for the opening and closing ceremonies respectively, two for high-demand sports sessions and three to five for other events.

"We want to maximize the number of people who have an opportunity to watch the Games," said Rong.

Excluding those reserved for the Olympic Family, sponsors, rights-holding broadcasters and security guards, some 63,000 tickets are available to the opening ceremony that will take place in the 91,000-seat National Stadium.

"The domestic public has access to about 40 percent, which is higher than the Athens Games in 2004," said Rong.

In an attempt to deter terrorists, forgers and ticket scalpers, people need to submit their photos when booking tickets to the opening and closing ceremonies, and the tickets can be transferred only once with the consent of BOCOG in advance, said Rong.

"Advanced anti-counterfeiting technologies will be used in printing the tickets," he said.

Tickets to oversubscribed events will be allocated by random draw.

"It ensures that everyone has an equal chance of purchasing tickets," said Rong.

In an effort to make the Olympics affordable to average Chinese residents, about 58 percent of the tickets are priced at 100 yuan (13 US dollars) or less, and 14 percent of all tickets would be reserved for Chinese students for 10 yuan (1.3 dollars) or less.

Ticket prices for the 28 sports sessions range from 30 yuan (3.50 US dollars) to 1,000 yuan (130 US dollars).

The most expensive tickets are for the opening ceremony on the evening of Aug.8, 2008, which cost 5,000 yuan (650 US dollars). The cheapest tickets for that event are 200 yuan (26 US dollars).

BOCOG expects income of 140 million US dollars from ticket sales.

"We are very confident of reaching the target as the public has shown overwhelming enthusiasm in buying Olympic tickets," said Rong.

The ticket design has yet to be officially released.

Source: Xinhua

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