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Huge demand for Singapore Grand Prix tickets

india Updated: Feb 14, 2008 19:11 IST

AFP
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Tickets went on sale on Thursday for the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix and demand was so high that organisers admitted the distribution system could not cope.

Singapore will host the sport's highly anticipated first-ever night race around the city-state's streets on September 28.

Customers trying to buy tickets, which were available online, through call centres and at booths, experienced delays due to "an extraordinarily high volume of system traffic both locally and internationally."

"Whilst we factored in high demand during the designing of the system, the volume of traffic going into the system is unprecedented," said Michael Roche, executive director of Singapore GP Pte Ltd.

"We apologise for the regrettable delays that many fans have experienced today. Rest assured, we are doing everything we can to reduce the delays and we would like to thank everyone for their continued patience."

The OmniTicket Network, which is in charge of sales, said it had designed a "unique system" to manage high demand for tickets but it still struggled to cope.

"Due to the unexpected number of simultaneous requests, the response time of the reservation system got compromised and, for a short time, even stopped responding," said chief executive Paolo Moro.

"We realise that Formula One fans are eager to be able to attend this unique event. Therefore we can confirm that we are doing everything possible to further increase the power of the system."

General three-day passes are priced from 168 to 1,388 Singapore dollars (118 to 979 US), with each customer allowed to buy a maximum of eight tickets.

At the top end, corporate tickets for the Paddock Club are 7,500 dollars (5,293 US)

The Grand Prix's staging at night is expected to boost global TV ratings for an already hugely popular sport.

It is estimated that it will generate about 100 million dollars (68.5 million US) a year in incremental tourism receipts for an island nation that has ambitions of becoming "a vibrant, global city."