London Olympic tix

Most tickets for Olympics ‘will be affordable’

10,000 people an hour register online on the day public ballot is launched

By Robin Scott-Elliot, Sports News Correspondent

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Three-quarters of the eight million tickets for the London Olympics will be made available to the public at an affordable level, claim the organisers of the 2012 Games, with only 1 per cent destined for the “prestige hospitality” market.

With Sunday night’s conclusion of the Paralympics in Vancouver, London is next in line – “There’s nothing ahead of us on the runway,” said Paul Deighton, Locog’s chief executive – and they marked the occasion by releasing first details of ticket availability. A website has been set up for supporters to express an interest in all events, including the opening and closing ceremonies. Yesterday 10,000 people an hour were registering. The actual sale of the tickets – and Locog has announced that an extra 300,000 have been freed up – will begin next year. Including the Paralympics, a total of 10 million tickets will be on offer through a ballot that is open to all EU citizens, but Deighton expects the vast majority to go to British fans.

“If we are deluged with international applications into the UK ballot we will speak to the IOC,” he said. “But we would be very, very surprised if we need to do that. We are only marketing to the UK.”

The cost of tickets will not be determined until this autumn, although Deighton, who forecasts heavy demand, stressed yesterday that Locog remains committed to its original promise to keep prices down. It is estimated that it will need an income of around £440m from sales, which could make the average price around £40, including free travel in the capital.

“We think the scarcity value of the Olympic Games in this country is compelling,” Deighton said. “The fact we are going to make them affordable will increase demand; we will make sure the price will work. We will adhere to our commitment for millions and millions of affordable tickets. We want full venues with a fantastic atmosphere and we want British people involved. We are meeting our pledge of being open on ticketing.”

Of the remaining quarter of tickets, 8 per cent will go to sponsors and broadcasters, 13 per cent to international sales and the IOC, and 4 per cent to hospitality and travel packages; this last category will include the 1 per cent allotted to “prestige hospitality”. The tickets will be spread across all sports and not just for blue riband events such as athletics.

“That doesn’t seem unreasonable. Sponsors and television substantially pay for the staging of the Games,” said Deighton. “[The number of tickets available to sponsors and hospitality] is a low proportion and compares favourably to other sporting events.”

How to book: Tickets go on sale next year but you can register already

Q: Can I buy London Olympic and Paralympic tickets?

A: No, not yet – tickets won’t actually go on sale until early next year. But you can register your interest in any of the 34 events, as well as in the opening and closing ceremonies, at

Q: So what is the point of registering now?

A: You will be among the first to receive details of the sales process itself (fans were registering at the rate of 10,000 an hour yesterday). Locog, the organisers, say registration will also shorten the process of applying for tickets once they go on sale.

Q: How many tickets will go on sale to the general public?

A: There are 10 million in all for the Olympics and Paralympics. For the Olympics six million will be sold through a ballot, the full details of which are still to be worked out by Locog once it has settled on a final programme of events.

Q: What are the chances of getting a ticket to see Usain Bolt run in the 100 metres final, or Britain’s cyclists go for gold in the Velodrome?

A: It will be down to the luck of the draw. Demand for the big events is expected to be huge – Locog is optimistic that most events will be sold out. If you end up with tickets for events you are not interested in, or can’t make, there are plans to set up an online exchange.

Q: How much will tickets cost?

A: That remains to be seen. Locog says it will announce prices in the autumn. Originally it had promised the cheapest would be around £15, but that figure seems likely to be higher. An average price of £40 (which includes free travel on London Transport) has been estimated.

Q: If I can’t get tickets to events will I be able to go into the Park?

A: Yes, there are plans for a “Henman Hill” area with a big screen. Locog is also considering using the “returns” process that has proved such a success at Wimbledon, whereby departing spectators can hand their tickets on.