By Barbara Demick
Los Angeles Times
BEIJING — It is not as though all 1.3 billion people in China are
trying to attend the Olympics.
It just seems that way if you’re trying to book a seat. Tickets to
the 2008 Games are proving to be among the most coveted in sporting
Money, luck, persistence, computer skills and, in some cases, the
right political background, are among the prerequisites.
Scalpers already are demanding as much as $40,000 a seat for the
Aug. 8 Opening Ceremony, and tickets for popular sports such as
basketball, gymnastics and pingpong (a particular Chinese favorite)
are going for 10 times their face value.
The crushing demand for the roughly 7 million tickets that the
Beijing Olympic Committee is putting on sale for the general public
comes from inside and out: Americans and Europeans who have long
dreamed of visiting China and think the Olympics will be the right
occasion, and middle-class Chinese families who want to watch with
pride as their nation celebrates what is widely touted as a coming-out
On the domestic market, ticket seekers have been frustrated by long
lines and crashing computer systems. A disproportionate number of
those who mastered the system were students and professionals in the
information technology field who were able to elbow their way to the
front of electronic queues.