Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Don't Be Confused: Officals Say Many Festival Tickets Remain

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Don't Be Confused: Officals Say Many Festival Tickets Remain

Article excerpt

The folks bringing you the U.S. Olympic Festival '94 have a dilemma.

They want to tell you that the all-America amateur sports competition is a ticket-selling success.

They have presold $2.2 million in tickets, well above their goal of $1.8 million before the Festival actually runs July 1-10. More than 268,000 tickets have been sold.

At the same time, they want to tell you that seats remain for all but one of the 37 sports being held.

That's why the Festival recently faxed a curious press release announcing that about 685,000 tickets still remain for Festival events.

Ticket sales director Tom Meihaus is both striving for and fighting against what Festival organizers call the "S" word.

Sellouts.

He wants them, but he doesn't want fans to think he has them yet.

"There has been a perception, due to our tremendous initial sales, that every event is sold out," Meihaus said. "That's not true. Only one event - swimming - is at capacity. All the other events have sessions available.

"We have 37 events, but you must remember that we have 203 ticketed sessions. Most of these events have from four to 10 sessions with seats remaining."

So far, only 27 of those 203 sessions are sold out - or "at capacity," as Meihaus prefers.

Most of the filled sessions are in the final, or gold-medal, competition in the hot sports.

As Meihaus said, only swimming has no tickets left. All 2,800 seats are spoken for in the three swimming sessions July 2-4 at the St. Peters Rec-Plex.

At least some tickets remain to at least one session in the other 36 events.

Only nine sports have at least one session sold out.

The staggering number of unsold tickets is just a numbers game. Most come from the eight baseball sessions scheduled at 57,000-seat Busch Stadium.

"Of the 685,000 tickets left, about 430,000 of it is baseball," Meihaus said. "And we've got eight sessions of ice hockey at The Arena, with more than 17,000 seats per session, so that's another 135,000 tickets."

By Festival standards, baseball is selling well. Presold tickets to the gold-medal game July 10 at Busch - which also include the Festival's Closing Celebration after the final out is made - already outnumber the attendance of the baseball finale at the '93 Festival in San Antonio. …

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