Online sale of Sochi Olympics tickets kicks off

Moscow: Online ticket sales for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics have started. The tickets are being sold online via an agency which also operates in the US, Canada, Brazil, Australia and several European countries.

According to the official online seller, tickets are priced from 500 rubles (about USD 16) for the ice hockey group games and up to 50,000 rubles (over USD 1,600) for the opening ceremony.

The majority of the tickets available through the Russian website have been sold out in the first few hours after the official start of the sales Feb 7, the same day that Russia started a countdown for the 22nd Winter Olympic Games.

The brisk sell-out of the tickets raised suspicions among local observers that the Olympics passes could have been grabbed by organised ticketing squatters who hope to resell them later, despite severe fines (over USD 33,000) the Russian government has introduced for the touts.

The first Winter Olympic Games held in Russia are to take place from Feb 7 to Feb 23, 2014, in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi. The games will feature 98 medal events, 12 more than the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.