Beijing Olympic Committee Abandons Online Ticket Sales

After crushing demand crashed online ticket system, summer Olympics organizers move to a lottery scheme for ticket sales.

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.

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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 Dec. 10 until Dec. 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 Oct. 30.

During the first hour of operation, the web site for ticket sales received 8 million 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 Oct. 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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