Ticket prices for London Olympics range from US$32 to US$3,220

  • Other Sport
  • Saturday, 16 Oct 2010

LONDON (AP) — Tickets for the 2012 London Olympics will range from a low of 20 pounds (US$32) for standard events to a high of 2012 pounds (US$3,220) for the top-priced seats at the opening ceremony.

Organizers announced the full range of ticket prices Friday for all 26 sports on the Olympic program that contains 649 sessions. An extra 800,000 tickets were made available, taking the total to 8.8 million.

The cheapest ticket for the opening ceremony on July 27, 2012, will be 20.12 pounds ($32.20), while the most expensive seat for the men's 100-meter final — considered the marquee sports event at the games — will be 725 pounds ($1,160).

Ticket prices begin from 20 pounds ($32) and there will be seats at those cut-price levels for every sport. Two-thirds of the tickets are priced at 50 pounds ($80) or less and 90 percent at 100 pounds ($160) or less. Each ticket includes a free travel card worth 7.50 pounds ($12).

Tickets will go on sale in March. So far, 1.7 million people in Britain and the European Union have registered their interest. If an event is oversubscribed, they will be entered into a lottery.

"For probably two-thirds of the sessions, you'll get the tickets you ask for," London organizing committee chief executive Paul Deighton said.

Seventy-five percent of the tickets will be available to the public, with the other 25 percent reserved for major sponsors, broadcasters and Olympic committees and federations.

"I am confident we will have packed stadiums and venues with the range of tickets on offer meaning that people of all ages and budgets will have the chance to attend London 2012," Olympics minister Hugh Robertson said.

Deighton said prices had been ratcheted up for the high-demand events to allow for more cheaper tickets at the other end.

"Most people will say to me, 'You could have sold opening ceremony tickets for more than that, couldn't you?'" Deighton told The Associated Press. "It's one session out of 649, a once-in-a-lifetime ticket.

"And of course being able to sell the high-end ones is what helps us have a third of the tickets at 20 pounds or less. You can't have it both ways. We've had to figure out how to make it accessible at the lower end."

Organizers are trying to raise about 440 million ($704 million) from ticket sales, a quarter of their operating budget.

"We have three clear principles for our ticketing strategy — tickets need to be affordable and accessible to as many people as possible, tickets are an important revenue stream for us to fund the games and our ticketing plans have the clear aim of filling our venues to the rafters," organizing committee chairman Sebastian Coe said.

Deighton said organizers will be working hard to ensure there are no empty seats, which was the case at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and to a larger extent at the recent Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

London 2012 will have shorter competition sessions as well as a ticket re-use system, similar to that used at the Wimbledon tennis championships.

"We will be working closely with sponsors," Deighton said. "They understand (the problem) and we will work to identify with them tickets they do not use so we can get a system for them to swap them among themselves.

"The end result would be for them to have the tickets they want."

Organizers also unveiled two special promotions Friday, aimed at giving more school children a chance to attend the games.

A tax will be levied on prestige hospitality packages, allowing 100,000 tickets to be donated to schools in Britain.

Organizers will also implement a "pay-your-age" program, where tickets for people aged 16 or under will be the same price as their age. This will apply to about 200 non-premium sessions.

Deighton said it took organizers two years to finalize their ticketing strategy.

"There was a lot of reiteration, a lot of comparisons and it was a hard juggling act to logistically deal with these prices," he said. "Ultimately it was a judgment call."

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