NEWS

2004 tickets in high demand

Athens 2004 Olympics organizing officials said yesterday that demand for the first batch of tickets for the Games made available to the Greek and European public last month far exceeded supply, adding that 82 percent of all applications received had been from Greeks. Athens 2004 tickets manager Mary Manolopoulou told a press conference that a total of 591,112 applications had been received for the 300,000 tickets on offer in the first, monthlong sale period that began on May 12. Bookings, with a total value of 46.9 million euros, were made over the Internet, or at branches of Alpha Bank, an official 2004 sponsor. A total of 3 million tickets are being sold to the general public, while a further 2.3 million have been made available to Games sponsors and international Olympic officials. The next batch of sales will begin on October 1. According to 2004 officials, a lottery will be held next week to allocate tickets for the most heavily oversubscribed events – the opening and closing ceremonies, track-and-field events, basketball, weight-lifting, synchronized swimming, diving, water polo, target-shooting, artistic and rhythmic gymnastics, volleyball and tennis. Greek athletes are expected to perform well in most of these events. People who fail to secure tickets through the lottery will be allowed to submit new applications for other events between September 15-30, during which they will be granted priority over future bidders. Athens 2004 officials said 82 percent of all applicants had been Greeks, 76 percent of whom lived in Attica. Some 64 percent tabled their applications through Alpha Bank, and the rest used the Athens 2004 website. Organizers hope to raise 183 million euros from public ticket sales.