Reserved seats sit empty in Vancouver

By RYAN PYETTE, QMI Agency

VANCOUVER — There aren’t many tougher tickets to get at the Olympics than figure skating.

But it hasn’t always looked that way at the Pacific Coliseum.

Despite an epic men’s battle between American Evan Lysacek and Russian Evgeni Plushenko last week and Canadian ice dance gold medal hopes Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the facility’s lower bowl often appears as deserted as a Phoenix Coyotes home game.

Strange, because VANOC is declaring sellouts at the former Vancouver Canucks home rink, which has a capacity of 11,500 for these Winter Games.

“All tickets have been sold to date,” Caley Denton, VANOC vice-president of ticketing and consumer marketing, said. “Tickets to events at the Pacific Coliseum are currently unavailable . . . we have averaged approximately 11,500 each night with a very high attendance for both disciplines (figure skating and short track speed skating).

“This number continues to change as we make adjustments to the venue.”

In the upper deck, Sec. 22, which is reserved for athletes, is usually barren. The public should get a crack at those seats.

“We are working . . . to modify this number, as necessary, while respecting the opportunity for athletes to attend other sports events to cheer on their teammates,” Denton said. “We are tracking specific large blocks of empty seats. We are working with each venue to manage seating sections well and to make as many seats available to the public.”

High-profile Olympic events, like Sunday’s Canada-United States men’s hockey game, cap the number of accredited international media in order to manage demand.

Originally, every figure skating session was to have a cap on the number of media allowed.

But that hasn’t happened.

Only the free dance and women’s free skate require media ticketing.

It’s a statement on international media interest for figure skating at the moment.

ryan.pyette@sunmedia.ca

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