In a posting on its website, CoSport, the official U.S. vendor, just three weeks after opening the ticket lottery, reported "overwhelming demand" for opening and closing ceremonies and for sports such as swimming and gymnastics.
"Thus, there is a chance that you may not receive any or all of these tickets," the website warned.
Applications for event tickets so far are running four to five times higher than for the 2004 Games in Athens and the 2000 Sydney Games, said Mark Lewis, president of Jet Set Sports, parent company of the vendor, CoSport, in Far Hills, N.J.
Fans can apply for tickets through mid-July on the CoSport website, www.cosport.com, (the preferred method) or by phone at (877) 457-4647. Tickets will be allocated though mid-September, after which any ones left over will go on sale.
The good news: Prices are lower than for the 2004 Games.
Admission to the Aug. 8, 2008, opening ceremonies, for instance, is $256 to $773 per person, depending on seat location, compared with $468 to $1,170 in 2004. You can attend the popular gymnastics finals for the women's balance beam or the men's parallel bars for as little as $26. The Olympics end Aug. 24, 2008.
Ticket prices, set by the Beijing Olympic Committee, are lower than in 2004 because most prices are lower in China than in Greece and because the dollar is stronger against the Chinese currency than against the euro, Lewis said.
But you may not get much of a break on hotels, which traditionally raise rates during big events such as the Olympics.
"We thought Beijing would be less expensive than Athens," said Dan Williams, vice president of sales and marketing for Cartan Tours Inc., in Manhattan Beach, Calif., which on Monday issued tour brochures for the 2008 Olympics.
But for various reasons, including strong demand, hotel rates will be about the same as for past Olympics, said Williams, who had just returned from Beijing.
Cartan's packages, which include airfare, hotel and breakfast but not event tickets, start at $4,495 per person, double occupancy, for four nights in Beijing. You can add trips to Hong Kong, which will host the Olympic equestrian events, and other destinations at extra charge.
Besides selling event tickets, CoSport sells hotel rooms and hotel packages that include event tickets (but not airfare) for the Olympics.