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  • IOC Seeks Olympic Ticketing Czar


    (ATR) The IOC is hunting for someone to take charge of ticketing for the Olympic Games.

    The deadline to apply for the job, head of ticketing, based at IOC headquarters in Lausanne is March 14 according to the listing on the IOC website.

    The position comes after chronic problems with ticket sales at nearly every Olympic Games. Most often the issue involves lackluster ticket sales for low demand events or empty seats at venues supposedly sold out.

    Then there are episodes involving questionable ticket sales practices around the world by some National Olympic Committees. Each of the 206 NOCs receives allocations of tickets to the Games which they are permitted to sell, usually through companies granted the right to handle sales within the country under the designation of an Authorized Ticket Reseller, ATR.

    In 2016, IOC member Patrick Hickey, then the president of the Olympic Council of Ireland, was arrested at the Rio Olympics and jailed on charges he broke Brazilian law
    on ticket reselling. Now more than two years after he was set free from jail in Brazil and allowed to return to Ireland, Hickey waits for word on when a trial might take place. He remains self-suspended as an IOC member pending the outcome of his case.

    The Kenyan NOC faced allegations in Kenya about improper ticket sales in 2012. In that same year a Ukraine NOC official resigned when a BBC expose revealed he was selling tickets on the black market.

    The IOC has been moving towards taking greater control over ticketing for a few years. Olympic Agenda 2020 specifically recommended the IOC take steps to wield more influence on marketing and sales of tickets to the Games.

    “The ticketing program is the entry door to the Olympic experience for millions of fans at the Olympic Games. Our goal is to constantly refine and improve it to make it accessible to the largest possible number of people in the domestic and international markets," says a statement from the IOC.

    As much as the new IOC ticketing director will work to avoid ethical breaches, the post will be responsible for finding solutions to the empty seat phenomenon and the need for effective marketing before the Games. As ticketing to sports events migrates from printed tickets to digital formats, the IOC needs to play catch-up with the industry. That mission will fall to the ticketing director.

    "This position will reinforce our ticketing efforts and work together with the organizing committees and Authorized Ticket Resellers, improving the quality of the interactions with the fans and ensuring full stadia," says the IOC.

    The job description on the website calls for candidates who have eight or more years experience in the ticketing industry.

    Given the often sensitive nature of Olympic ticket sales, the job description says “working with diplomacy” is another key quality for a successful candidate.

    All photos from Getty Images.

    Reported by Ed Hula. For general comments or questions, click here.
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