REWIND: From The Aus­tralian, Septem­ber 1, 2000

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Lifelines -

THE Olympic Arts Fes­ti­val is miss­ing out on sig­nif­i­cant daily ticket sales by re­fus­ing to al­lo­cate empty seats to HalfTix, ac­cord­ing the di­rec­tor of the dis­count tick­et­ing agency, War­wick Free­man.

Free­man wrote to OAF gen­eral man­ager Craig Has­sall and Sydney Or­gan­is­ing Com­mit­tee for the Olympic Games di­rec­tor-gen­eral David Rich­mond on Wed­nes­day, say­ing there was ‘‘ noth­ing to lose but empty seats’’ by re­leas­ing lim­ited tick­ets to HalfTix.

His let­ter was sparked by an av­er­age of 40 re­quests a day for fes­ti­val tick­ets at the agency’s city of­fice, mainly from Ja­panese tourists. Orig­i­nally SOCOG’s con­tracts with the pre­sent­ing arts com­pa­nies ruled out dis­count­ing, al­though this was re­laxed ear­lier this year when tick­et­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity moved from SOCOG to Tick­etek and Tick­et­mas­ter.

‘‘ We could fill a cou­ple of hun­dred seats ev­ery night, eas­ily,’’ he says. Free­man says in the let­ters that arts com­pa­nies that reg­u­larly use HalfTix had ad­vised him that ‘‘ de­spite sig­nif­i­cant num­bers of un­sold seats, re­stric­tions im­posed by the Olympic Arts Fes­ti­val have pre­vented them us­ing our ser­vices’’.

‘‘ We have asked to be con­sid­ered as a strate­gic op­tion — as an ad­junct, not an al­ter­na­tive — to the present tick­et­ing struc­tures,’’ Free­man wrote. But Has­sall says he is ‘‘ de­lighted with sales so far’’ and does not plan to use HalfTix, al­though he would not rule out us­ing the com­pany in the fu­ture.

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