Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ticket Fiasco Explained (Sort of)

Today the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee (BOCOG) held a press conference to talk about the ticket fiasco that happened yesterday.

Rong Jun, director of the Olympic Ticketing Center first read a statement that was very similar to what was published in the media today. He said in the first hour the system was inundated with 8 million hits online, 3.8 million phone calls and numerous people lined up at Bank of China branches.

He went on to say that they didn't expect such "over-enthusiastic" people anxious to get Olympics tickets and then apologized, saying they would correct the problem and provide a better service for their "distinguished" customers. He even got up in front of the media and bowed.

Then the foreign journalists went on the offensive. The Wall Street Journal asked to explain the reason behind the suspension of ticket sales last night. Rong said it was because the database processing system was not able to process so many requests at once which led to the system crashing.

He admitted they were expecting 1 million hits per hour, but did not point the finger at either the ticketing center or the ticketmaster company that is helping BOCOG set up the ticketing system.

Reuters asked since the lottery system worked well the first time, would the Olympic Ticketing Center consider doing this again. Rong replied they were only following the example of other Olympic host cities who sold tickets in three phases, first with a lottery and then the other two on a first-come-first-served basis.

The director would not disclose exactly what the new ticketing plan would be, but that they would take into consideration "people's feedback and criticism" and increase the database processing capacity. Neither would he reveal by how much the processing capacity would be increased. And no it wasn't a problem with the server or bandwidth.

He would only say that the plan to resume the second batch of ticket sales would be announced November 5.

While it's good to see BOCOG bravely addressing the media on this fiasco, thinking only 1 million people would go online at once is very naive.

Behind the scenes someone's head is probably rolling at this moment...

8 comments:

ks said...

as far as i could recollect there has been similar problems in sale of tickets with every olympic games. in actual fact even with big rock concerts, and huge public events there are fiascos of the same magnitude . the wall street journal is famous for scratching and making wounds of others. the recent martin lee affair is an other good example.

IheartNY said...

how far china has changed. in the good ol' days, there would be no apology, no bowing and definitely no foreign journalists to ask irritating questions.

Just wait until the ticket scalping starts. Two scalping companies in Vancouver announced _their_ prices for the 2010 opening and closing ceremony weeks ahead of the official announcement, so you gotta know the inside deals are already happening...

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