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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hundreds Snatch Up Eurovision Tickets

ReutersPeople looking at tickets that they bought to the Eurovision Song Contest at Olimpiisky Sports Complex on Monday.��
More than 400 people braved sleety conditions to wait in line outside Olimpiisky Sports Complex as tickets for the Eurovision Song Contest went on sale Monday morning.

The cheapest tickets start at 800 rubles ($23) for the semifinal concerts at the stadium, and the most expensive tickets for the final on May 16 have a face value of 30,000 rubles ($865). By Monday afternoon, some unofficial web sites were offering tickets for upward of 70,000 rubles.

One woman, her face bright red from cold, stood within a few meters of the stadium's ticket windows but complained that the line was barely moving after ticket sales started at 10 a.m.

"I've been waiting since 6 a.m.," said the woman, who gave her name as Marina.

"The first 50 people in the line are ticket scalpers," she said.

Many people further back in the line worried that they would have no chance of buying the cheaper tickets, especially for the final.

"They're supposed to sell only eight tickets per person, but the ticket scalpers are taking turns buying tickets. Then they'll sell them on the Internet," said Natalya Lisanova. "I doubt I'll manage to buy a ticket. Standing here is pointless."

The cheapest tickets for the final cost 1,000 rubles.

"We knew that everyone would come along to buy tickets today," said student Yaroslav Kononikhin, who arrived with a friend just before 9 a.m. "The cheap tickets are already running out."

After joining the back of the line, student Natalya Medvedeva reeled in shock when someone passed her a handwritten list of names and places in the line. The last name was at number 488.

"It's like in Soviet times in the line for sausage," she said.

By Monday afternoon, a host of unofficial sites were already selling tickets at hugely marked-up prices. One offered tickets to the final starting at 16,000 rubles and going up to 70,000 rubles.

To avoid being ripped off, or, even worse, buying fake tickets, it's safer to buy from official sources, Eurovision organizers said.

Tickets are also being sold online on the web site of the Russian broadcaster Channel One, at www.1tv.ru/eurovision, and through an official call center at (495) 363-6060, although the number was constantly busy Monday afternoon.

Tickets are also on sale through ticket agencies that are official partners of the event: the web sites Parter.ru, Kontramarka.ru, Kassir.ru, Concert.ru and Showtrade.ru and Ticketland kiosks.

Kontramarka.ru, Kassir.ru and Parter.ru had sold out of tickets to the final by 2 p.m. on Monday but had tickets for semifinals and rehearsals.

Concert.ru and Showtrade.ru said they had not yet started selling tickets to the final but would do so later this week.

Several official sites were limiting Eurovision sales to up to four tickets per person.

The heads of the delegations for all the Eurovision countries arrived in Moscow this weekend for a meeting to confirm the final lineup.

Monday was the deadline for the countries to submit their songs. The delegates held a draw to decide the running order of the final and semifinal concerts at Kosmos Hotel.