BEIJING - The Italian Super Cup between Inter Milan and Lazio is set to attract a full house of 80,000 to the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing next month after a flurry of early ticket sales. Over half the seats for the first sporting event at the iconic arena since the close of Beijing's Olympic summer last year have already been booked less than a week after they went on sale, the Beijing Youth Daily reported on Wednesday. "There's no question the Bird's Nest will be full," an organising official told the paper, adding that predicted revenue from the game would be around 70 million yuan ($10.25 million). The pre-season curtain raiser between Serie A champions Inter and Italian Cup winners Lazio will kick off at 8 p.m. local time on Aug. 8 -- a year after the Olympic opening ceremony at the same venue. The other major event in the Beijing International Football Festival, the English Premier League's Asia Trophy, has not done as well at the box office so far, the organiser said. A total of 20,000 tickets had been sold for the biennial tournament involving English clubs Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United and Hull City as well as hosts Beijing Guoan. The tournament takes place on July 29 and 31 at the spiritual home of Chinese football in the capital, the Workers' Stadium, which will have a capacity of 49,000 for the event. "The festival is not just about profit," the organiser added. "The Italian Super Cup is to some extent dedicated to marking the anniversary of the Olympics and the Asia Trophy is an event of great social impact." Tickets sales might have been hit by reports that Chinese Super League leaders Guoan may put out a weakened team with half an eye on their league match in Chongqing on August 2.
15 July 2009
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