Olympic Tickets Sell for 20 Times Face Value on Secondary Market

Ticket prices to sold-out events at the London Olympics have climbed as high as 20 times face value on the secondary market, with the opening and closing ceremonies, the men’s basketball final and the last track-and-field session going for at least 1,000 pounds ($1,576) a seat.

The games start July 27 and tickets to the opening ceremony are the most expensive and most scarce, according to TiqIQ, an aggregator of the online resale ticket market. The prices for opening-ceremony seats range from 2,000 to 7,000 pounds, up from the face value of 150-2,012 pounds.

“This is a once-every-four-years event,” TiqIQ Chief Executive Jesse Lawrence said in a telephone interview. “It’s a marquee event. Part of what’s driving demand here is that it’s a six-hour flight from the U.S. and people are coming from the U.S. more for this Olympics as opposed to Beijing.”

The biggest markup is for the last day of the track and field competition on Aug. 11, with list prices ranging from 2,000 to 2,300 pounds, up from a face value of 50-725 pounds. The schedule that day includes the men’s 5,000-meter run and the men’s 400-meter relay, the event in which Usain Bolt set a third world record four years ago in Beijing with his Jamaican teammates.

The price for closing-ceremony tickets on Aug. 12 is up an average of 454 percent over face value, according to TiqIQ. The listing prices on the secondary market ranges from 1,300 pounds to 3,620 pounds.

Tickets to the gold-medal game in men’s basketball, where the U.S. is defending its championship, are listed for more than eight times their face value, with prices ranging from 1,000 pounds to 3,500 pounds. The original prices for those seats were 95-425 pounds.

NBA Beaten

The lowest-priced ticket of about $1,500 for the gold medal game is more than the $1,300 average cost for secondary-market seats to Game 5 of the National Basketball Association Finals tomorrow, when the Miami Heat can clinch the title with a win at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The cheapest Game 5 tickets are being resold for about $400.

“They could win the NBA championship and here you’ve got opening and closing ceremony that has a get-in price north of that average price,” Lawrence said. “Compared to the major U.S. sports, you see demand that’s outstripping even the clinching games of a final for basketball, hockey, baseball or even the Super Bowl.”

Other sold-out events with tickets available for more than quadruple their face value include the men’s and women’s tennis finals; the men’s basketball semifinals and women’s basketball gold-medal game; the final pool swimming session including the men’s and women’s 400-meter medley relays; and the rhythmic gymnastics finals.

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