VANCOUVER, British Columbia - VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Vancouver Olympic organizers have launched a Web site that allows Canadians to resell their tickets unhindered by a price cap.
Organizers say the Web site will help avoid empty seats at the Olympic events and also give those who can no longer use their tickets an opportunity to legitimately sell them.
While only Canadians can sell their tickets on the site, anyone can use it to buy tickets. There is a 10 percent levy on each transaction.
Tickets to the men's gold medal hockey game with a face value of between $330 and $520 were being offered for $4,730 within hours of the site's launch on Monday.
"We decided to, after much debate, allow a free market on the site," said Caley Denton, vice president of ticketing and consumer marketing for VANOC, the Vancouver organizing committee.
"Our message to consumers can be very simple," he said. "If someone's selling tickets outside of this Web site, people need to ask themselves why they would be doing that.
"There's a confidence in knowing that you're getting a legitimate ticket. I'm not sure how many people are going to go give $10,000 to somebody on craigslist. I know I certainly wouldn't."
The idea for the resale site came out of the Beijing and Turin games, said Dave Cobb, VANOC's executive vice president and deputy CEO. Even though tickets for many of the events were sold, he said sections of stadiums sat empty.
Organizers decided against capping ticket prices on the site because they felt such a move would hinder its use, but Cobb insisted the Web site was not introduced as a moneymaking venture and that VANOC needs to recover the cost of providing the service.
Tickets can be sold or bought at www.vancouver2010.com. Buyers must pick up their tickets at either the main ticket center or the venue box office.
The seller holds on to the invalid original ticket, and that could spur fraudulent sales, said Mario Livich of ShowTimeTickets.com.
"There's nothing to stop that person from selling that ticket again through another medium," he said.
Livich expects his company's Olympic sales to take a hit, but said that consumers don't always flock to official resale sites.