Prices of tickets for the Athens 2004 Olympics will be, on average, 34 percent cheaper than for the previous Games in Sydney, the organizers of the Games announced yesterday. Sixty-eight percent of the 5.3 million tickets available for sale will cost up to 30 euros, Athens 2004 Executive Committee member Marton Simitsek told reporters yesterday. Of these, slightly more than half, or 38 percent of the total, will cost 10 and 15 euros, Simitsek added. «Essentially, the more expensive tickets will subsidize the others,» he said. These «others,» which include most of the finals, will range from 40 to 300 euros for the sports events, and from 50 to 950 euros for the opening and closing ceremonies. All tickets will include free public transport to and from the venues. Of the 5.3 million tickets, 3 million will be available to the public at large; certain that there will be fierce competition for tickets, the organizers will follow the tried-and-true method of random selection. The public should apply for tickets beginning on May 12, 2003. Residents of the European Union will be able to order directly through the Athens 2004 Internet site, Alpha Bank or, for non-Greeks, the national Olympic committee (NOC) or official ticket agent in their country. Non-EU residents will get their tickets through their respective NOC or national ticket agent only. Athens 2004 has submitted its ticketing scheme to the EU for approval, which is expected soon. The lucky lottery winners will be informed soon after May 2003, but will only be issued the tickets three months – at most – in advance of the Games, which begin on August 13, 2004. In contrast to Sydney and Atlanta in 1996, purchasers will not pay for their tickets when ordering but only when they are certain they have obtained the tickets they wanted. In order to answer any questions about ticket reservation and for customers to make first and alternate preferences for events and dates, Athens 2004 will issue order forms next April. The other 2.3 million tickets will be issued, in keeping with the organizers’ contractual obligations, to sponsors, NOCs – not including the tickets mentioned above – international federations, the International Olympic Committee, broadcast right holders and certain officials; 600 tickets, for example, have been set aside for Greek MPs. If the above bodies do not distribute all of their tickets, those remaining will enter the lottery. Some indicative prices are: for track and field, 10, 15 and 25 euros for qualifying events, 40, 70 and 90 euros for the finals, and 75, 150 and 300 euros for last day’s finals; for weightlifting finals, 60 and 90 euros for the top athletes (Group A); for swimming, 30, 45 and 70 euros (qualifiers) and 50, 100 and 200 euros (finals); for basketball, 15 and 20 euros (qualifiers), 20 and 30 euros (quarterfinals), 50 and 80 euros (semifinals), 60 and 100 euros (final placement games), and 150 and 300 euros (finals). However, several sports finals are cheaper than the examples listed above. «I think the fiercest competition will be for the more expensive tickets,» Spyros Kapralos, another Athens 2004 executive member told Kathimerini. Despite that statement, it is certain that most of today’s papers will highlight Simitsek’s answer to a question over whether Greeks could afford the ticket prices: «We did not say that all Greeks can attend all the events,» he said. There are still some issues to be resolved that could marginally affect the number of tickets issued. One is the soccer final venue. Greece’s Olympic Committee is set to decide on December 3 whether to agree to the use of the Karaiskaki Stadium, which it owns. «It is up to them to decide, of course, but I think the government is now committed to a positive solution,» Kapralos said.