Olympic ticket sales ‘impressive’

Four months before the Olympics opening ceremony, Athens 2004 officials have met 74 percent of their ticket revenue target, the organizing committee said yesterday. However, it was unclear just how many of the 5.3 million tickets that are being made available for the Games – 3 million for the general public and 2.3 million for sponsors, national Olympic committees and TV rights holders – have been sold, and moreover, how many seats will actually be filled between August 13 and 29. An organizing committee statement said 1.82 million tickets have been sold so far, netting organizers 136.73 million euros. The initial revenue target was 183 million. «The ticket sales program is proceeding at an impressive pace, despite international instability,» the statement said, adding that tickets are still available for most events. Although the statement made no mention of the sold tickets as a percentage of the total number available, Athens 2004 officials told journalists the 1.82 million were part of the overall figure of 5.3 million. Athens 2004 also made no mention of how many of the ticket-buyers were Greeks, who accounted for 82 percent of initial applications. Quizzed on demand in the US, 2004 Executive Director Marton Simitsek told journalists that all 119,000 tickets made available to the American Olympic Committee had been sold. «Now whether they may not have sold them all is not our direct concern, as we have received the money,» he said. «However, it does concern us indirectly, as we want to fill the stadiums.» The second phase of ticket sales will end on Friday, to allow seat assignment. Sales will start again on June 1. The average ticket costs 35 euros, while over 66 percent of all tickets cost under 30 euros.