China abandons plans to sell Olympics tickets online

Organizers of the Beijing Olympics Monday gave up on online ticket sales after the ticketing system crashed last week.

Organizers of the 2008 Olympics gave up on plans for online ticket sales Monday, admitting defeat after a crush of eager buyers crashed the ticketing system last week.

The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG), which had promised to host a "high-tech games," will instead offer tickets through a lottery system. Ticket applications will be accepted from December 10 until December 30, but organizers have not said how many tickets each person will be allowed to purchase or when the lottery will be held.

The ticketing fiasco was a blow to preparations for the 2008 Olympics, which have otherwise proceeded with relative smoothness thanks to strong government and popular support.

But that popular support proved to be the undoing of the ticketing system built to handle domestic tickets sales for the games. The system crashed shortly after ticket sales began on October 30.

During the first hour of operation, the Web site for ticket sales received 8 million [M] page views, with an average of 200,000 ticket requests filed every minute. Designed to handle 1 million visits per hour and a maximum of 150,000 ticket requests per minute, the system could not cope with demand.

Attempts made on the afternoon of October 30 to reconfigure the system to handle heavier traffic loads did not succeed, and organizers later announced the sale of tickets had been suspended.

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Sumner Lemon

IDG News Service

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