Much attention was made during the 2012 Olympic games in London over the row after row of empty seats for many of the venues. It seems that tickets are being allocated to various countries, agencies, athletes and families who simply don’t want to attend those events.
MOSCOW – The upper house of Russia’s parliament has passed a bill calling for fines of up to $30,000 for anyone scalping tickets to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The bill, passed Wednesday by the Federation Council, now needs to be signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.
For low-level scalping by individuals, the fine would be five to 10 times the ticket’s face value, but penalties will be heavier for scalping done as a business.
Russian Olympic Committee head Alexander Zhukov told a news conference that “we as Olympic organizers have an obligation under our contract with the International Olympic Committee to prevent speculative price hikes for hotels and Olympic tickets.”
There needs to be a market for these tickets. For those who don’t wanna go to the venue or the game, they need an easy method for selling those tickets to someone who does. And at fair market value.
Germany, Canada, Norway and Slovakia are represented here as having produced suspects in a strict crackdown on ticket scalping and other ticket fraud, stretching from venues across the city to global Internet outlets.
Since the first full day of competition, the Metropolitan Police Department has swept up more than 30 people for scalping or ticket “touting,” including a 29-year-old man who was sentenced this week to 28 days in jail for hawking tickets outside the Olympic boxing venue.
In a separate action this week, three Norwegian companies, which operate 12 websites, have agreed to provide full refunds for up to 15,000 tickets that they were not authorized to sell, the result of an ongoing inquiry by Britain’s Office of Fair Trade.
The string of criminal arrests and civil actions represent yet another slice of ticket woes that have shadowed the Summer Games in which organizers have been scrambling since the start to fill empty seats across the venues.
Just make these tickets available to the market and the market will adjust the price until the stadium is full, or more full than it otherwise would be.
But in classic “big government style”:
The troubles prompted the chairman of the British Olympic Association, Colin Moynihan, to call for the International Olympic Committee to take over the ticketing operation and provide a centralized system for ticket distribution.
There’s no reason for these laws to be on the books. And there’s no reason for the centralization of ticket distribution.
Set the tickets free!