National

Tokyo 2020 organizers boost efforts to counter ticket scalping

Kyodo

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee has been stepping up efforts to counter ticket scalping amid concerns about massive buyouts and overpriced resales — which often results in empty seats.

The committee asked the government and a nonpartisan group of lawmakers in late August for legislation to clamp down on scalpers, and is also planning to introduce online tickets bearing personal information and a system where purchasers can resell tickets at fixed prices.

The online resale of tickets for concerts and sports tournaments in large quantities at inflated prices has become a social issue in recent years, and the International Olympic Committee has requested a thorough crackdown on scalping so that many people can watch the games at fair prices.

For the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, some 10 million entry tickets are expected to be issued beginning around the spring of 2019. Although the prices are undecided, an average of ¥7,700 ($68) for the Olympics and between ¥25,000 and ¥150,000 for the opening ceremony were expected in a plan during the bidding process.

An official on the Tokyo organizing committee has expressed concern about possible ticket scalping.

“It will affect the games’ reputation. We want to create a framework through which we can thoroughly crack down on people reselling tickets obviously for a profit,” the official said.

Current Japanese regulations are limited. Under the law regulating the sale of second-hand goods, ticket resale is illegal only if purchasers are found to have repeatedly resold their tickets.

Under nuisance prevention ordinances like the one in Tokyo, scalping in public places such as on roads and parks is prohibited, but in many cases online sales are not considered to have been conducted in a “public place.”

In addition to requesting legislation specifically targeting ticket resale, the committee is also considering allowing purchasers to resell their tickets at fixed prices, as well as printing names on tickets and partially introducing electronic tickets carrying personal information.

However, some critics have voiced concern over restricting ticket resale through legislation, saying demand pushing up prices is an economic principle.

Ticket sales for the 2016 Rio Games were sluggish due to economic stagnation, and IOC executive member Patrick Hickey, among others, was indicted for involvement in a ticket-scalping scheme.

Ticket sales have been slow for the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, due partly to low domestic interest, and the IOC has urged the organizers to boost promotion to shore up sales.