Asia: Ed Sheeran, Olympics, The xx

Fighting Olympics Scalping

The organizing committee for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics has started to put together measures to fight ticket scalping, which has become a major problem throughout Asia.

It’s a particularly thorny problem with regard to the Olympics because, as Kyodo New Service reports, “massive buyouts and overpriced resales” that tend to accompany scalping can often result in empty seats.

The committee is asking the Japanese government to pass a law specifically targeting scalpers. It will also introduce an online ticket system that utilizes personal information and another system where purchasers can resell their tickets at fixed prices. This latter countermeasure addresses the problem of inflated prices for resales, which has become a big social issue with the prevalence of online sales. The International Olympic Committee itself has also asked for a crackdown on scalping.

Some 10 million tickets will start to go on sale for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in spring of 2019. Although Kyodo says that prices haven’t been determined yet, when Tokyo made its official bid for the games, in its plan it cited an average ticket price of 7,700 yen ($68) for events and between 25,000 and 150,000 yen for the opening ceremony.

An official of the organizing committee told Kyodo that scalping “will affect the games’ reputation. We want to create a framework through which we can thoroughly crack down on people reselling tickets obviously for a profit.” As it stands, however, Japanese law can’t really do much about scalping. Ticket resales are illegal only if the purchasers have repeatedly resold their tickets. While scalping is prohibited in public places, online sales are not considered public places.

Other measures may include printing the purchasers’ names on the tickets and electronic tickets that carry personal information.

Nevertheless, some involved with the Olympics are afraid that passing stringent laws could effectively harm overall ticket sales. Ticket sales for the 2016 Rio Games never really took off, and sales so far for the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, have been sluggish due to low public interest.

Sheeran Cancels Some 

The xx
Jason Moore
– The xx
Austin City Limits Festival, Zilker Park, Austin, TX

Ed Sheeran has canceled some of his dates on his upcoming Asia tour, kept some as they are and rescheduled others. Following a bicycle accident several weeks ago that resulted in two fractures, one on each arm, Sheeran’s tour of the continent, which was to start last month, was up in the air.

The tour will now start in Singapore Nov. 11, go on to Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Mumbai. The concerts in Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul and Jakarta have been canceled. The shows scheduled for Osaka, Tokyo and Manila have been postponed until April.

In a statement, Sheeran wrote, “I’m really gutted that not all the postponed dates could be rescheduled and I am working hard with my team to try and come back to these places as soon as I can to see all of yu. I’m sorry to everyone who has been affected by this.”

The xx play Asia

Another international act who will be doing a major Asian tour early next year is The xx. The tour will include concerts in Manila, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Taipei, Osaka and Tokyo, with perhaps other dates to be announced. This summer, the British trio performed in Japan, South Korea and Singapore. All of the upcoming shows will be in arenas.