Scalpers get gold in money-making

By STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency

VANCOUVER — There was almost as much action on the street outside GM Place before Wednesday’s Canada-Russia quarterfinal as there was on the ice hours later.

Scalpers did a brisk business before the most anticipated hockey game yet of the Vancouver Olympics, selling lower-bowl seats for between $1,100 and $1,250 each, but no less than $2,400 for two together, and upper-bowl seats for $800 to $900 each.

And in many cases, the negotiations took on a creative twist.

One scalper was approached by a group of men wearing Team Finland jackets. The scalper immediately proposed a swap with one of the Finns — two tickets for Wednesday night’s quarterfinal between Sweden and Slovakia for the Finn’s team jacket.

The Finn counter-offered: His jacket for one Canada-Russia seat, didn’t matter where in the arena.

The scalper laughed and walked away.

A couple of scalpers actually wore seat maps of GM Place around their neck to show prospective buyers exactly where their seats would be.

On top of tickets, there was also a steady business in flags, shirts and pins.

Scalpers and buyers alike paced outside the nearby train station talking on their phones, trying to learn what tickets were going for in other areas outside the stadium.

Scalping is legal in British Columbia, but in one instance, a scalper approached a visiting journalist and suggested where he could put his pen and notebook. (It wasn’t in his pocket.)

steve.buffery@sunmedia.ca

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