Olympics athletes in Beijing this August will compete in packed stadiums, with tickets selling out for all events _ even those that are not traditionally as popular, Ticketmaster's president for China predicted Friday.
Jonathan Krane, whose company is the official ticket provider for the games, said he was confident all 6.8 million Olympic tickets will be sold, though he would not say exactly when.
"We predict that this will be the first Olympics that it's a 'sold out' Olympics," he said in an interview.
Some sports, like basketball, are surefire sellers. Others, like modern pentathlon and team handball, are less popular. The 2004 Athens Olympics sold only about two-thirds of 5.3 million tickets available.
But China has an obvious advantage over some other hosts, with its 1.3 billion people, many of them full-fledged sports fanatics.
"Certain events are always sold out during the Olympics, but I think that to have every event sold out, that's something that's very positive and it doesn't always happen," said Krane, who became president of Ticketmaster China last year after it acquired Emma Entertainment, a China-based ticketing and promotions company he set up in 2004.
Earlier this month, Olympics organizers announced that domestic-sale tickets for events in Beijing were sold out. Tickets for some events in other cities, such as soccer tournaments in Shanghai and equestrian events in Hong Kong, were still available.
Beijing's Olympics ticketing got off to a rocky start last fall when the computer system meant to handle it crashed, forcing organizers to revert to a lottery system to sell tickets.
Organizers reported 27 million hits in a one-hour period during the last round of online domestic ticketing, but the system held up.
Overall, the Beijing Games will generate about 9 million tickets, but a large chunk is set aside for the International Olympic Committee, sponsors, dignitaries and TV broadcasters _ cutting the total available to the public.
After test events at some sites, the 7.2 million tickets originally planned for public sale was scaled back to 6.8 million. The Beijing organizing committee has said some tickets will likely be available at ticket booths around sports venues during the Games.
The Olympics sponsorship was the first major move into China for Ticketmaster, a unit of New York-based IAC/InterActiveCorp.
"Having this look like the first sold out Olympics ever, it's a very positive experience for everybody," said Krane, who later Friday ran a leg of the Olympic torch relay in Shanghai.
West Hollywood, Calif.-based Ticketmaster bought a controlling stake in Emma Entertainment in April 2007, hoping to tap into its niche in promoting international concert performers.
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