Asian Games 2018

Asian Games organisers warn the public over fakes in latest ticketing fiasco as closing ceremony seats go on sale

Tickets for the opening ceremony were the hottest in town and organisers are promising another spectacle for the finale

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 August, 2018, 6:22pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 August, 2018, 6:41pm

Tickets for the widely praised opening ceremony at the 2018 Asian Games at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta were the hottest in town and thousands were left disappointed when they weren’t able to get their hands on them.

After it was announced that organisers are planning an equally spectacular closing ceremony for Sunday’s grand finale, they are again expecting a rush on tickets.

But organisers today issued warnings to members of the public on the legitimacy of tickets brought from non-official sources, saying any tickets purchased outside of the three official distributors are fakes.

The Indonesian Asian Games Organising Committee (INASGOC) announced on Tuesday that the tickets were now on sale priced between 500,000 and 2 million rupiah (HK$260-HK$1,040), and gave the URLs of three official online retailers with the warning to people who purchase them from unofficial sources.

Ticketing has been a major issue throughout the 2018 Games.

Organisers were forced to switch their official ticketing partner on the eve of the Games when their servers broke down and last week, Husain Al Musallam, director general of the Olympic Council of Asia, wrote to Erick Thohir to voice his displeasure at the ticketing arrangements at the Games.

The OCA wanted to address the issue of bad optics because of so many empty seats at sporting venues after it was earlier revealed that up to 40 per cent of seating inside venues was being reserved, often going unused, for sponsors, officials and VIP guests.

“This is causing a great deal of confusion and does not look good ... when there are empty seats,” read the letter.

“The OCA therefore instructs that not more than 10 per cent of the seats should be reserved for the officials,” Al Musallam added.

INASGOC confirmed rumours that the ceremony would feature performances from South Korean pop stars Super Junior and Ikon in addition to performances from local singers Isyana Saraswati and Dira Sugandi.

Organisers announced last week that the closing ceremony would not feature the same large-scale choreographed routines as the opening ceremony, but would still be spectacular with a theme of a single Asian community.

How can I watch the 2018 Asian Games in Hong Kong? A guide to i-Cable’s Asiad coverage

There has also been widespread anger among the public over the difficulty of obtaining tickets for events in Jakarta.

Organisers initially responded by opening up more physical sites where customers could purchase tickets, but they too were soon overwhelmed by demand.

Some events have been well attended throughout the two weeks of the quadrennial event, notably badminton, which is a huge pastime in Indonesia. But many have seen very disappointing attendances.

A football quarter-final clash between South Korea, who featured Premier League star Son Heung-min, and AFC under-23 champions Uzbekistan on Sunday was attended by fewer than 1,000 spectators.

Asian Games mascots: how does 2018 trio of Bhin Bhin, Atung and Kaka compare to creations of decades past?

Only 40,00 tickets were made available for the opening ceremony, but more seats are available for the closer because there will no centrepiece stage as there was for the opener.

Closing ceremonies are typically lower-key events than opening ceremonies, but creative director for both ceremonies, Wishnutama, an award winning Indonesian producer, told Jakarta Post about some of the difficulties they were encountering in their preparations.

“We had four months to build the stage for the opening ceremony,” Wishnutama said. “But for the closing ceremony we only have two days to build the stage in Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, because the track-and-field competition at the stadium finishes on Thursday.”

Asian Games 2018 medal table: who leads the standings in Indonesia?