Learn how and where to score tickets to the next Winter Olympic Games.
Did you miss out on this past summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing? Was China too far and too expensive to travel to? Fear not, the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, are closer than you think—fewer than 500 days in fact, and tickets are already on sale.
Yes, the “request phase” for Winter Olympics tickets started on Oct. 3, 2008 through CoSport, the official U.S. ticket agent for the Vancouver Games. The company also handled tickets for the Beijing Games.
CoSport is the only company licensed by the Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC) to sell tickets to U.S. citizens. CoSport can also arrange accommodation packages for those headed to the Games. Here’s how it works:
Phase I for ticket sales ran from Oct. 3 to Nov. 7. The next opportunity to request tickets will be made available in early Spring 2009. You can sign up at the CoSport Web site (www.cosport.com) for e-mail messages regarding Phase II ticketing, which will include whatever tickets are left over from the first phase—plus any new ones that may have been released. All will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Note that CoSport is a ticket broker, so it buys the tickets up front and assumes the risk that they may not be sold—so prices are going to be higher for Americans than their Canadian counterparts, who can buy tickets directly from the Olympics Committee.
Translation? If you have cousins up north, you may want to check in with them.
CoSport sales manager Mike Cucci wouldn’t say how many tickets are allocated to Americans (versus Canadians or other nationalities), but he did note that the most popular events at the Winter Games are the opening and closing ceremonies, hockey and the finals of just about any event. So if you want tickets for these events, act fast when Phase II opens up.
Once you buy your tickets, they can either be mailed to a U.S. postal address, or they can be picked up at the will call window on the day of the event. Will call customers must provide evidence of U.S. citizenship.
Accommodation and hospitality packages can also be arranged by CoSport, which doubles as a travel agent. In addition to event tickets, the packages include hotels, airport meet-and-greet services, meals, ground transportation and host services. Packages do not include airfare or other forms of transport to and from Vancouver.
Package sales began Oct. 10 and are ongoing. Some have sold out, but there still are plenty available.
Of course, you can always book your own stay, but Cucci warns that travelers should start looking right away because rooms are going to book up fast. However, if history is any guide, this fear may be unfounded. “Booked rooms” is different than “blocked rooms,” and when large corporate groups don’t show up for the Games, those hotel rooms get released, fast.
And, keep in mind that Olympic cities almost always overbuild: Bejing saw fewer than 80 percent occupancy during the Games, which means there could be opportunities for last-minute planners.
Cucci also warns travelers to beware of online ticket scammers such as those that bilked dozens of Americans out of their money before the Beijing Games.
“Tickets can be bought from scalpers, but you are not guaranteed to actually receive them,” he said. “It’s best to purchase through an authorized seller only.”
CoSport does not offer refunds if you change your mind about attending an event, but you can sell your tickets to a friend (or a stranger, for that matter) as long as it’s not for profit. CoSport reserves the right to cancel tickets if the company finds out that they have been resold commercially for profit.
And unlike at the Beijing Olympics, there will be no rules or deadlines in effect with regard to transferring tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies.
In Beijing, International Olympics Committee rules aimed at preventing scalping allowed these coveted tickets to be transferred to a new owner only once, with identification required at the time of transfer. The system was unwieldy and not overly successful, so it was scrapped this time around.
[For more coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, read Vancouver: Winter Olympics in 2010.]
2010 Good to know - would love to attend.