Olympian Ticket Sales

One of the problems that plagued the 2004 Athens Olympics seems to be a complete non-issue for this summer’s Beijing Olympics – ticket sales.

About two-thirds of the event’s 5.3 million available tickets were eventually sold, but an executive for Ticketmaster, the official ticket provider for Beijing, projects that every seat for 2008 will be filled, a first for the Games.

The difference, TM’s Jonathan Krane says, is obvious: China has 1.3 billion citizens, many of whom are sports fanatics.

In fact, Olympics organizers have said that all the domestic-sale tickets for events taking place in Beijing are already gone. Tickets are still available in other cities, including Shanghai and Hong Kong, but those will probably be gone by the time of the opening ceremonies.

In all, the Games will generate about 9 million tickets, but a good portion are reserved for sponsors, dignitaries, broadcasters and visitors affiliated with the International Olympic Committee. About 6.8 million tickets have been or are available for public sale.

Ticketmaster was able to get a foothold in China through its April purchase of a controlling stake in Emma Entertainment, a local concert promoter.

However, excitement over the Olympics and attendant security jitters seem to have put a damper on the Beijing Pop Festival. Scheduled for September, promoter Rock For China recently canceled it, reportedly because it didn’t want to have to compete with the Olympics.

Last spring, the Midi Modern Music Festival, scheduled to be held in Beijing May 1-4, was postponed until October because local police said they couldn’t guarantee security, due to the ongoing Olympics preparations.

People close to the Midi festival told reporters that permission to hold concerts with foreign artists had suddenly become more difficult in the face of incidents such as Bjork’s on-stage support of Tibetan independence and the protests that have followed the Olympic torch relay throughout the world.

Past editions of the Beijing Pop Festival featured the likes of Placebo, Supergrass, Nine Inch Nails and Public Enemy. No lineup had been announced for this year’s festival.