The first batch of tickets for Eurovision 2019 sold out just 10 minutes after they went on sale Thursday night, with some 2,000 fans bagging a place at the international song contest set to be held in Tel Aviv in May.
The long-awaited opening sale, however, left many fans disappointed, with tens of thousands still waiting for a chance to see the show.
The European Broadcasting Union and Israel’s Broadcasting Corporation announced the sale earlier Thursday. The next batch of tickets will be sold in April.
The competition will be held at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds from May 14-18. There will be nine shows in total, the semi-finals and final, and two rehearsals for each.
Tickets range in price from NIS 350, close to $100, for rehearsals, to NIS 2,000 ($550) NIS for VIP treatment at the finals.
The high prices, likely the most expensive ever for Eurovision, were heavily criticized in Israel and abroad.
Around 4,000 tickets will be available to the general public and 3,000 others reserved for the European Broadcasting Union that runs the event.
Event organizers warn fans against buying tickets from unofficial vendors because of the risk of counterfeits. Israelis can purchase tickets through the Leean website.
The Tel Aviv municipality will host free events throughout the contest enabling fans to watch the performances broadcast live at outdoor venues.
Israel will be represented by singer Kobi Marimi, after the 27-year-old won the Rising Star reality singing competition in February.
Pro-Palestinian anti-Israel activists in Europe have called for a boycott of the Eurovision event in Tel Aviv. Anti-Israel protesters briefly interrupted a Eurovision song contest qualifying round in France last month.