NBC Chairman Supports Scalping Olympic Tickets

jeff shell

A common practice for popular events is sponsors and sellers purchasing a number of tickets and re-selling them at a price higher than the original to people who could not buy a ticket from the official office before the event sold out. This is known as scalping, or touting, and was branded illegal in London for the 2012 Olympic games. The chairman of NBC Universal International, Jeff Shell, spoke out in support of scalping and touting, in order to fill seats in an Olympic arena. He believes that because sellers knew they would not make money off of the tickets, they were less apt to sell, and this resulted in less than full arenas in the first week of the Olympics for sports ranging from tennis and football to gymnastics and swimming. These unused spots had the effect of angering Brits who had tried, and failed to gain tickets to the events.

NBC Universal has a stake in how the Olympics are perceived, and the overall strain that attendees experience in attending. The company has owned broadcasting rights in the United States for the Summer Olympics since 1988 when they were held in Seoul, South Korea, and the rights for the Winter Olympics since 2002. In 2011, NBC signed an agreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to cover the 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020 Olympics in a deal estimated at $4.38 billion in value. This is the largest TV rights deal since the Olympics began. Shell has met with the Swiss president Ueli Maurer, and recommended that if the 2022 Winter Olympics are in Davor and St. Mortiz, that he allow scalping.

Source courtesy of BBC. Image courtesy of Comcast.