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Russia begins to sell tickets to 2014 Sochi Olympic Games

February 08, 2013, 15:53 UTC+3 Alexandrova Lyudmila

Sales of tickets to the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Russia’s Sochi started in Russia on Thursday. Thirty minutes after the official beginning of the ticket-selling campaign, no tickets to the ice hockey tournament finals and semi-finals were available. By the end of the day, all tickets to ice hockey, curling and half-pipe tournament finals were sold out, as were tickets to biathlon relay races.

As soon as the ticket-selling campaign was launched, the official website of the Sochi Olympics was receiving more than 10,000 applications a second. As many as 10,000 tickets were sold every second.

The ticket-selling campaign is to end on May 31, 2013. At the current stage, tickets are sold based on their price category. At the next stage, each ticket will be assigned a specific seat number.

Note should be made that some restrictions are imposed on sales of tickets to the most popular competitions, such as ice hockey, figure skating, and to the opening ceremony. Thus, only four tickets to such events are sold to one person. The upper limit for other events is eight tickets.

The minimal ticket price is 500 roubles, or about 18 U.S. dollars, although tickets to highly popular events are much higher. Thus, a ticket to the ice hockey finals costs at least 7,000 roubles, which is all the same by 30 percent less than to ice hockey finals at the previous Games in Vancouver. Tickets to the opening ceremony cost 6,000 roubles and higher.

According to Dmitry Chernyshenko, the President of the Sochi-2014 organizational committee, tickets to the Russian Olympic Games events are among the most affordable in the entire history of winter Games.

The price of 500 roubles has been fixed for tickets to ice hockey qualifier and group stage games, and to women’s skeleton qualifications. Seven hundred roubles is the price for tickets to luging competitions and skeleton finals.

A day after the launch of the selling campaign, a wide selection of tickets was available to such competitions as speed skating, ski jumping, and Nordic Combined.

All tickets have already been sold out to the opening and closing ceremonies, to men’s ice hockey quarterfinals, semi-finals, the bronze medal match, and finals. Few tickets are available to figure skating competitions: so far, it is possible to buy tickets to mixed team events at a price of 12,000 roubles. High-priced tickets are available to non-medal figure skating events.

Only the most expensive tickets to biathlon races, priced at 6,500 roubles, were available by the end of the day on Thursday. Tickets to ski races, priced from 2,500 to 5,000, were available by Friday morning.

The highest demand is for tickets to ice hockey matches – no tickets were available by late Thursday not only to finals (maximal price of 34,000 roubles), but also to semi-finals (19,000 roubles) and one of the quarterfinal games.

“I made an attempt to buy tickets to the finals at ten in the morning, Moscow time, but there were none. In the long run, I bought tickets only to the opening and closing ceremonies,” RBC daily cites Denis Terekhov, the director general of the Social Networks agency.

According to the Biletologia laboratory of the RMA school of business, it looks like ice hockey will be the most paying event at the Olympic Games. Even if tickets are sold only to 82 percent of seats, the proceeds will reach 25.12 million U.S. dollars.

“The key point of ticket programs is affordability. But it will be ticket touts who are going to make profit of that. All these 500- to 1,000-rouble tickets will be resold at exorbitant prices in the long run,” said Biletologia’s head Kirill Larin.

Organizers of the Sochi Olympics have been repeatedly saying that they would spare no effort to stop scalpers, warning of million-rouble fines for reselling tickets in the Internet.

“A huge number of criminal cases were opened in London against ticket touts. But we should bear in mind Russia’s realities. In Sochi, where locals are used to make hay of vacationers during the high season, prospects to get a 1,000-percent margin are more than probable to outweigh the fear of criminal prosecution,” he said.

On February 7, Russia started the one-year countdown to the opening of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

According to the state-run corporation in charge of Olympic construction in Sochi, Olympstroi, the overall cost of the Games exceeds 1.5 trillion roubles. The sum includes the money to be spent to develop the region and the city of Sochi, and transport infrastructure. Thus, it looks like expenses will outweigh the proceeds.

MOSCOW, February 8