SPORTS

More Olympics tickets

Athens 2004, the Olympic Games organizers, have urged fans to go out and buy tickets for next year’s Olympic Games while they are still available when a new tranche goes on sale today. But anyone hoping to see the opening ceremony or the men’s 200-meter final, where Greek Costas Kenteris will be defending his Olympic title, will be disappointed, as tickets for those have already sold out, Athens 2004 said in a statement. During the first phase of sales, from May 12 to June 12 this year, more than half a million of a total of 3 million tickets on offer were snapped up – double what was expected – 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 80 million euros with 1.1 million tickets sold. The second sales phase is planned to go on until the end of February 2004 and Athens 2004 hopes to make a total of 183 million euros ($213.6 million) from ticket sales. «We have already covered 66 percent (120.7 million euros) of our budget and we urge fans to hurry up and buy their tickets so as not to miss the unique opportunity to watch the Games,» Athens 2004 Executive Director Marton Simitsek told Reuters. «(This time) the purchase will be done without prior request, with immediate confirmation of the buy if the tickets are available,» Simitsek said. All prior purchases required an initial request which was processed according to demand. The opening ceremony has been sold out. Tickets are still available for the closing ceremony at 500 euros each. All swimming finals, several weightlifting events – popular among Greeks – and the tennis finals were also sold out, organizers said. Average ticket prices are about 35 euros, a considerable drop from 53 euros at the Sydney Games. More than two-thirds of all tickets cost up to 30 euros. Spectators from outside the European Union and Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein will have to purchase their tickets through their country’s Olympic committee. The Games, returning to the site of the modern revival after 108 years, open on August 13, 2004. Despite years of construction delays and organization problems that have earned organizers stern warnings from the International Olympic Committee, they have been successful in their marketing and ticketing programs.