Tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies as well as several events of the upcoming South-east Asian (SEA) Games 2015 have been sold out.
But some tickets have started popping up online for resale by scalpers. And one of them is asking $750 each for two Category 1 tickets to the opening ceremony at the National Stadium on June 5.
It is more than 10 times the original price of $60.
A search by The New Paper yesterday generated several hits on websites such as eBay, Ticketbis, Gumtree, Carousell and Craigslist for SEA Games tickets from more than 40 sellers.
Tickets for the opening ceremony range from $159 to $750 each, but most were in the $200 range. The original non-concession prices for the three categories of tickets range from $12 to $60.
Ticket exchange website Ticketbis is also reselling tickets for events like badminton, swimming and table tennis at more than double the official price. They range from $50 to $60 each, compared to the official standard price of up to $20.
Full-dress rehearsal tickets for the opening ceremony, which are not meant for sale, are also being touted online from $30 to $50. These tickets were given free to those involved in the ceremony, such as volunteers.
When this reporter, posing as a potential buyer, e-mailed a reseller touting five opening ceremony tickets at $159 each on eBay, the seller with the username thomaskhoman said he was selling the tickets because his family could not attend the event.
Asked why he was selling the tickets at inflated prices, he ignored the question and instead replied: "Please make your offer".
When I later identified myself as a reporter in another e-mail, he did not reply to my queries.
Some sports fans said they are disappointed to find out the events they wanted to watch have been sold out.
A 19-year-old student who wanted to be known only as Miss Ling said she had been looking forward to watching the swimming and rhythmic gymnastics events.
She said: "I was quite disappointed that I did not manage to get the tickets for both events as they were sold out.
"I wanted to buy the tickets that are being resold but they are out of my budget."
However, not all tickets are being resold at inflated prices for profit. Some resellers are charging tickets at cost price or lower.
One Carousell user, known only as Ms Janice, 26, is trying to sell two diving tickets for $17 each when she paid $20 for one.
She was initially planning to watch the event but can no longer do so because of a change of plans.
"I just want to recoup part of the cost of my tickets," she said.
"I did meet a seller on Gumtree who was trying to sell one opening ceremony category 3 ticket, which cost $12, for $70. I don't think it is ethical to profit from this. I didn't want to be one of them."
The Singapore South-east Asian Games Organising Committee (Singsoc) is urging the public to buy tickets from the official distributor, APACTix.
Mr Toh Boon Yi, Singsoc Executive Committee's Chief of Community & Corporate Outreach, said: "It has come to our attention that there are tickets being sold through unauthorised resellers.
"These resellers have violated the conditions of sale and entry using such tickets may be refused.
"We would like to urge the public to be mindful of the risk of purchasing tickets through such means."
Mr Baey Yam Keng, the chairman of Government Parliamentary Committee for Culture, Community and Youth, also warned: "(Scalping of tickets) is not the right thing to do and people need to be careful of unscrupulous people selling fake tickets."
But lawyer Gloria James said that it would be difficult to take action against scalping of tickets.
"Technically, the transaction is not illegal because the resellers did purchase their tickets from the official organisers," she said.
"Even if these individuals violate the terms and conditions stated on the ticket, it is very hard to enforce them."
Mr Toh said that more tickets could be resold at venues if there were available seats due to no-shows. This would be subject to assessments on the ground.
WHAT’S AVAILABLE, WHAT’S NOT
If you are planning to catch your favourite national athlete in action in the upcoming SEA Games but have not bought your ticket, now might be a good time to do so. Here's a breakdown of which events are sold out, selling fast, or have free admission.
- Opening and closing ceremonies
- Fencing (all sessions)
- Water polo (June 16 only)
- Rhythmic gymnastics (all sessions)
- Swimming* (all sessions for finals)
- Taekwondo (all sessions)
- Volleyball (all sessions except for June 10, 10am; June 11, 10am and 5pm
- Wushu (all sessions)
*Admission for swimming heats is free
- Billiards and snooker
- Gymnastics (Artistic)
- Traditional Boat Race (Dragon Boat)
- Waterski & Wakeboard
The SEA Games will be streamed live on the official SEA Games YouTube channel (youtube.com/singaporesports/live), showcasing 17 different sports and the opening and closing ceremonies.
More than 600 hours of sports competition will be streamed live. Post-event highlights and highlights of daily golden moments will also be available on the YouTube channel.
Fans can also watch the Games live on the SEA Games TV Mobile App, which is free. The android version is available for download and the iOS version will be launched on May 25.
This article was first published on May 22, 2015.
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