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  • Vancouver Olympics $ -- Tickets Fall Short, Record TV Watchers


    The IOC report says $257 million in tickets were sold for Vancouver 2010. (Getty Images)
    (ATR) VANOC almost made its ticket sales forecast, falling short by about $3 million according to new figures from the IOC, which also say TV viewership set records around the world.

    The just-published IOC Marketing Report for Vancouver 2010 says 1.49 million of the 1.54 million tickets available were sold for $257 million revenue.

    VANOC budgeted $260.4 million revenue from a 1.6 million pool of tickets.

    The Vancouver ticketing revenue is a Winter Games record, $74 million better than Salt Lake 2002. But those Games sold 1,525,118 of 1,605,524 tickets available.

    Chief financial officer John McLaughlin didn’t dispute the IOC numbers. He said the final tally, due in this fall’s audited financial report, would include sales for the Cultural Olympiad, Paralympics and luxury suites.

    “We’re still dealing with a few ticketing issues and doing the final reconciliation takes a bit of time,” McLaughlin said.

    “The order of magnitude for the purposes of their report certainly is close.”

    During the Games, 28,000 tickets for Cypress Mountain events were refunded because general admission areas were unsafe for standing and venue services were underestimated.

    Approximately 50,000 tickets went unsold for events in Whistler.

    The report said 71 percent of tickets were sold in Canada, with 16 percent internationally, 11 percent to sponsors and broadcasters and 2 percent to IOC and international federations.
    Worldwide TV audience for Vancouver reached 1.8 billion. (Getty Images)

    During the first Canadian sales phase in fall 2008, VANOC said the ratio would be 70 percent public and 30 percent Olympic family.

    The IOC report showed Vancouver 2010 was the most-seen Winter Olympics in history, thanks to the Internet and mobile phones. It said 1.8 billion people out of a record potential 3.8 billion audience watched parts of the Games.

    There were 235 broadcasters and TV stations in more than 220 territories that carried a combined 31,902 hours of coverage. The coverage was double what was offered during Turin 2006.

    The Games were the first high definition, 5.1 surround sound Winter Olympics on larger screens produced entirely by the IOC’s Olympic Broadcast Services. VANOC opted against a Turin or Beijing-style joint venture. Another OBS innovation for Vancouver 2010 was the round-the-clock Olympic News Channel.

    On small screens, 100 official broadcasters used their websites to serve 265 million views of Games videos and 1.2 billion overall page views. More than 6,000 hours of content was broadcast on mobile phones.

    IOC reported that 190 million people watched in the United States on NBC Universal channels, peaking at 29.4 million the day that snowboarder Shaun White, alpine skier Lindsey Vonn and speedskater Shani Davis all won gold.

    Nearly three times as many red mittens were sold than expected as a fund-raiser for Team Canada.
    Russian hockey fans had little to cheer about, but 10.9 million woke up in the wee hours to watch their squad play the Czech Republic in men’s hockey.

    Some 40.5 million Dutch watched through the Games, including 5.2 million who saw speedskater Sven Kramer’s disqualification.

    Numbers were not furnished for Chinese viewership, but the report said the Vancouver 2010 opening ceremony was seen by four times more viewers than during Salt Lake 2002.

    Australian viewership peaked at 1.7 million when Lydia Lassila won gold in women’s aerials.

    IT provider Atos Origin processed accreditation for 29,900 athletes, officials, coaches, media, staff and volunteers.

    Hudson’s Bay Company manufactured uniforms for 30,000 workforce members. The Bay’s Olympic Superstore drew 10,000 customers a day.

    Coca-Cola served 3.7 million beverages, including 200,000 at its pavilion.

    Panasonic didn't list how many screens it provided; VANOC bought hundreds of Toshiba TVs for press tribunes and covered the logo with black tape.

    Petro Canada sold 1.8 million limited edition glasses.

    The Rona fabrication shop built 11,000 items, including podiums.

    Nearly 11 million Russians watched the Russia/Czech match in the middle of the night. (Getty Images)
    Canada Post produced 900 million official postage stamps.

    There were 3.5 million pairs of red mittens sold, beating forecasts by 2.5 million.

    Merchandising royalties were $57 million, which beat the forecast $53.8 million. Some licensees, however, are still trying to unload surplus inventory from warehouses and discount retail stores.

    “It’s a pretty complimentary report,” McLaughlin said.

    “From a marketing perspective these Games were considered pretty darn successful in the end.”

    Written by Bob Mackin in Vancouver.

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