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Fans will pay a lot to watch the joint ice hockey team

Feb 02,2018
Demand is so hot for tickets to the inter-Korean women’s ice hockey team games at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics that sports fans are offering double the regular price to get them.

The PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (Pocog) said that 74 percent of tickets to all the Games were sold out as of Wednesday. But tickets to the three games featuring the inter-Korean women’s ice hockey team have been long sold out.

The team is playing against Switzerland on Feb. 10, Sweden on Feb. 12 and Japan on Feb. 14.

“I want to buy your ticket to the inter-Korean women’s ice hockey game against Sweden,” wrote a desperate fan on an online site where users can buy and sell used goods on Thursday. “I will pay you a high price.”

At least 10 similar posts were uploaded on that site daily for the past few days. One transaction showed that a ticket for an A-section seat at the inter-Korean team’s game against Switzerland sold for 120,000 won ($112), double the original price of 60,000 won. The seats are divided into A, B and C sections for the ice hockey games, with A section being closest to the rink.

Tickets to the three games featuring the only inter-Korean team in the Olympics, ranging in price from 20,000 won to 60,000 won, have been sold out since mid-January. The decision to field a team with players from both South and North Korea was reached between two Koreas on Jan. 17.

Then on Jan. 20, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that North Korea would send 12 players to join the current 23-player South Korean squad for the Olympics. The only legal way for an individual to resell a ticket is through the so-called Fan-to-Fan section of the official PyeongChang Winter Olympics website.

The Special Act on Support for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games forbids an individual not entrusted by the organizing committee to sell tickets and especially for a price higher than the official price. Violators can be fined up to 5 million won.

The IOC forbids individuals from reselling tickets on the black market because this prevents the IOC from tracking the identities of ticket holders, which it does to defend against possible terror attacks or other security threats at the Games.

“We have a legal team who is monitoring these black markets,” said an official of Pocog.

BY KIM WON, ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]