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Oly ticket sales on the rise; freebie giveaway revamped

SHARE Oly ticket sales on the rise; freebie giveaway revamped

Tickets to the Winter Games are getting hotter by the day, it seems.

The Salt Lake Organizing Committee announced Monday that ticket sales are picking up momentum.

"We expected ticket pace to decline after the Christmas rush," SLOC President Mitt Romney said. "But we've seen a doubling of sales rates. Instead of going down, ticket sales have rocketed."

Also, Monday's start of the distribution process for free tickets to the nightly medals ceremonies and free concerts by big-name groups like Dave Matthews Band and Smash Mouth proved so popular, organizers had to revamp the process.

Regarding sporting-event ticket sales, Romney said 88 percent of the tickets available to the public have been sold. That figures out to 1.365 million tickets for total revenue of $171 million. There are 180,000 tickets remaining to be sold, which Romney said won't be hard to move.

Romney said Utahns bought 40 percent of the tickets. To encourage more buying frenzy, as of Monday the final three packages containing hot-ticket events were dissolved to allow them to be purchased singly.

Tickets are still available to popular events such as opening and closing ceremonies, figure skating and ice hockey.

As for the free tickets to the medals ceremonies SLOC tweaked the process Monday after the distribution process for the first of three waves of ticket distributions angered some people who said they had to wait in long lines in the cold at Smith'sTix outlets.

The first wave will proceed as planned with 100 wristband holders per store going to their respective Smith's Thursday at 7 a.m. to get their four tickets each.

The new process for the next two waves is as follows:

Everyone ? not just the first 100 people ? who wants a wristband for the second wave can get one Wednesday at any Smith's from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. People can get wristbands for the third wave on Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Smith's stores.

After the wristbands have been distributed, SLOC and Smith'sTix will look at the number of wristbands that were picked up at each store and decide how to proportionally distribute tickets to each store.

Numbers for each store for each wave will be drawn and published in the Deseret News as well as on the SLOC Web site Sunday. From the number drawn, a certain sequential number of people will be chosen to get tickets.

For those with the winning numbers, the tickets for the second wave will be distributed Monday at Smith's from 7-8 a.m. The tickets for the third wave will be given out Tuesday, Jan. 15, from 7-8 a.m. Romney said it will be advantageous to go right at 7 a.m. for people to obtain tickets to the acts they want to see.

All 62,000 of the Medals Plaza tickets SLOC is distributing through Smith'sTix will be taken care of this way.

To purchase tickets to the Games or to access information on the free-ticket distribution process for the medals ceremonies, go to www.saltlake2002.com.

E-mail: sgiles@desnews.com; pthunell@desnews.com