Vancouver Olympics not sold out

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

VANCOUVER - Organizers of Vancouver’s Winter Olympics sold 110,000 fewer tickets than they originally forecast.

VANOC claimed during February’s Games that it had a 1.6 million-ticket inventory, but the International Olympic Committee’s Vancouver 2010 marketing report said 1.49 million tickets were sold from a pool of 1.54 million, “generating approximately $257 million in revenue.”

“It’s best to wait until we do our report,” said VANOC chief financial officer John McLaughlin. “Their number is pretty close to the actual (Olympic) ticketing numbers.”

McLaughlin said a breakdown would be in the final VANOC report due this fall. VANOC budgeted for $260.4 million in ticket revenue, which includes Paralympic and Cultural Olympiad sales.

As many as 50,000 tickets to sliding and skiing events in Whistler were unsold. VANOC also reduced the inventory during the Games when it cancelled and refunded 28,000 general admission tickets to Cypress Mountain events because of weather and service issues.

The report said 71 percent of tickets were sold in Canada. International buyers accounted for 16 percent of purchases and 11 percent were bought by sponsors and broadcasters. The remaining 2 percent went to the IOC and international sports federations.

McLaughlin said it could take “months” to resolve the $2 million loss caused by Latvian fraudsters who used stolen Visa card numbers to buy tickets on the official VANOC scalping website. McLaughlin said talks with an insurer and Visa are “slow.”

Meanwhile, the IOC report said there were approximately 1.8 billion viewers of the Vancouver Games globally and the potential audience was 3.8 billion.

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