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RFID Means To Foil Ticket Counterfeiters In China

The technology will help the host of an upcoming tennis tournament begin issuing tickets five months before the event instead of the usual one-month advance sale customary in China.

The Ba-Shi Group, host of the Tennis Master Cup in Shanghai, China, through 2007, said Monday it has installed radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to prevent counterfeit ticketing.

The application uses Texas Instruments (TI) Inc.'s Tag-it HF-I ISO/IEC 15693 inlays embedded into each ticket. "Counterfeit tickets are a big problem in China, especially if you want to issue them months before the tournament," said Xue Jingjing, marketing director of Shanghai New Sports and Entertainment Ltd., a Ba-Shi Group subsidiary. "We wanted to promote and issue tickets five months before the tournament begins, but worried about giving counterfeiters too much time to duplicate the tickets."

Tickets went on sale months prior to the Tennis Master Cup 2006 to promote the event more effectively. The move proved lucrative, bringing in nearly double the revenue from past sporting events, Jingjing said. The 100,000 tickets sold for the Tennis Master Cup 2005 held Nov. 13 - 20 were genuine.

Promoters in China typically issue tickets one month prior to the event to guard against counterfeiting and protect their business interests, said Mack Gu, sales and marking manager for TI in China.

But the ability to foil counterfeiters prompted another illicit activity. Some attempted to reissue tickets instead. Jingjing acknowledges that counterfeiters would legally buy a ticket, enter the stadium, and then sneak the original tickets outside to resell to someone waiting to get in.

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