NEWS

Ticket sales set to top 3 million

Spokesmen for Athens 2004 said yesterday, on the third day of the Olympics, that the Games were running smoothly. And in reply to questions regarding the low turnout seen at many events on the first weekend of competition, they announced that ticket sales were yesterday expected to break the 3-million psychological barrier. While the hosts have been preoccupied with the ongoing drama over whether their two greatest track hopes – sprinters Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou – were guilty of avoiding an IOC doping test, media across the world and the IOC were also concerned by the few spectators at many events. «Usually the stands in the stadium are not filled in the first few days,» government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said. «The Organizing Committee has announced that it has achieved the aims it set,» he added. Athens 2004 organizers noted that many people were away because of the August 15 holiday commemorating the Dormition of the Virgin. Also, many of the events concerned sports that are not known in Greece. But there was also a feeling that the doping scandal and injuries suffered by some star athletes put a damper on sales. Communications General Manager Michalis Zacharatos said that on Sunday more than 45,000 tickets were sold and that the total sold so far came to 2,920,000. Sales were yesterday expected to break the 3-million mark out of a total of 5.3 million available. The revenue target of 183 million euros needs sales of 3.1-3.4 tickets. In Barcelona in 1992, 3,210,000 where sold, while in Seoul in 1988, 2.7 million were sold.