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Ticketmaster scores Olympic gold

The company will sell tickets online to individual events and will also provide the Summer Games in Athens with the related hardware and software.

Ticketmaster has scored Olympic gold, signing an exclusive deal to sell tickets for the 2004 Summer Games.

Ticketmaster will sell tickets to individual events online, over the telephone and through box offices, said Timothy Wood, chief operating officer of the company's ticketing division. Ticketmaster will begin online sales for the Games, being held in Athens, Greece, during the second quarter of next year, he said.

"We're very pleased with this," Wood said. "We felt the Olympics was the missing piece from all the things we tried to do."

International Olympic Committee representatives did not return calls seeking comment.

Although Ticketmaster is the leading ticketing company, it has never sold tickets to the Olympic Games. Its chief rival, Tickets.com, sold tickets for the recently concluded Salt Lake City Games, the first time that Olympic tickets were made available online before they were available through traditional means.

The Salt Lake Organizing Committee, which oversaw the Winter Games, later sold front-row tickets to events such as figure skating and ice hockey through online auctioneer eBay.

Ticketmaster will provide the Olympics with all of the hardware and software for ticket sales. Wood said he did not know what hardware would run Ticketmaster's ticketing systems, but said much of the software would be either based on the company's proprietary systems or be developed for the Games.

Unlike with other live events, Ticketmaster will not receive a sales commission on Olympics tickets, Wood said. Instead, the Olympics will pay Ticketmaster a fee for its services. Ticketmaster declined to say how much it would receive.

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