VANOC will skim 20 per cent from the sale of all Olympic tickets scalped through an online fan-to-fan marketplace that launched yesterday.
The marketplace, located at vancouver2010.com, allows people to donate or sell tickets if they are no longer able to use them or, in the later case, hope to make a quick buck.
Dave Cobb, VANOC’s executive vice-president, said the primary goal of the marketplace is to ensure that every seat is filled.
“We decided, after much debate, to allow a free market on the site,” said Caley Denton, VANOC’s vice-president of ticketing.
VANOC will take 10 per cent of the sale from each the seller and the buyer. A ticket sold for $1,000 would therefore cost the buyer $1,100 and garner the seller $900.
Denton claimed the 20 per cent fee would act to keep prices low. He also said the fees were on par, or below, similar resale sites.
The organizing committee, he added, does not aim to make a profit through resales and is charging the fee to recoup its costs for establishing the marketplace.
Sellers will not get their money until after the Olympic event is held.
A quick search of the site revealed that some fans were already prospecting for Olympic gold.
The most expensive ticket for men’s gold medal hockey on sale was $22,400, while the most expensive ticket to the opening ceremonies was $24,600.
The face value on those tickets is $775 and $1,100 respectively.
“We expect to see fairly high prices to start as people test the market,” Denton said. “Typically, the most reasonably priced tickets sell right away.”
He also warned that tickets sold on sites like Craigslist may not be genuine. “Our message to consumers can be very simple: If someone is selling tickets outside of this website, people need to ask themselves why they would be doing that and is that truly a valid ticket.”
The marketplace also includes auctions for rare and unusual Olympic experiences, like sitting in a judge’s chair during the figure skating exhibition galas and seats right behind the bench during a hockey game.