Extra tickets for Olympics go on sale

More than 35,000 extra tickets for the Athens Olympics, including some for sought-after events like the opening and closing ceremonies and the sprint finals, are now available, organizers said yesterday. The unexpected batch of the Games’ most popular tickets came up for grabs after a review of seating arrangements at the main Olympic stadium, the aquatic and gymnastics centers. «By finalizing the operational plan and finalizing the partner organizations’ needs, it is possible to modify the tickets for the public,» the organizers said in a statement. The tickets include 1,000 for the opening ceremony, some for the basketball final, expected to feature the USA’s latest «Dream Team,» and attendance at the men’s 100 and 200 meters finals. The new tickets will go up for sale tomorrow. During the first phase of ticket sales from May 12 to June 12 last year, more than half a million out of a total of 3 million tickets on offer were snapped up, netting more than 40 million euros. A separate batch of 2.3 million tickets set aside for sponsors, national Olympic committees and TV rights holders has already brought in about 80 million euros with some 1.1 million tickets sold. The second sales phase that started in September runs until the end of this month. The Athens Olympic organizing committee hope to make a total of 183 million euros from ticket sales. All swimming finals, several weightlifting events, popular among Greeks, and the tennis finals are already sold out. Average ticket prices are about 35 euros. More than two-thirds of all tickets cost under 30 euros. Spectators from outside the EU, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein have to buy tickets through their respective Olympic committees. (Reuters)