2012 Olympics tickets go on sale for London Games

  • 15 March 2011
  • From the section UK
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Media captionLord Coe explains how to buy 2012 tickets

Tickets for the London 2012 Olympics have gone on sale, 500 days ahead of the event.

Some 6.6 million tickets are available from the London 2012 website over a six-week period and organisers say all applications will be treated equally.

Prices range from £20 to £2,012 and oversubscribed events will be decided by a ballot.

The ticket website initially failed to process the orders of people whose Visa card expires before August.

Ticket prices

Lord Coe, the chairman of London 2012, said: "If you look at the way we have put the price points together I think we've done that in a really smart way. I think those prices are affordable.

"Yes, the big ticket events are always going to be the big ticket events, but there are plenty of opportunities to see the big stars at the lower price points."

Lord Coe said he was confident the Games would be a sellout.

Organisers said they were confident they had done everything they could to avoid the website crashing as people log on for the first time to buy tickets.

The main factor is the establishment of a 42-day sales process which means each application between now and 26 April will be treated in exactly the same way.

People can also apply using a paper form obtainable from branches of Lloyds TSB in England, Bank of Scotland in Scotland or libraries in Northern Ireland between 15 March and 25 April 2011.

When the website did open, people applying for tickets found the website could not process their orders if their Visa card expires before August.

A London 2012 spokesman said Visa was working on this problem: "What Visa is trying to do is to ensure that more people will be able to apply by bringing this threshold forward so that it will only be if your card expires before the end of June that the site will not process your order.

"It means if your card runs out in July you will still be able to apply, but you will just need to come into the process a bit later."

Sean and Jacqueline Burke, from Southwell, Nottinghamshire, reported some problems using the website.

Mr Burke told BBC News: "We have managed to book tennis and athletics and one of the cycling events but we have had one or two problems with the website crashing. Logistically it's quite tricky at the moment."

Half a billion pounds is forecast to be raised from ticket sales.

Several events will be free, such as the marathon, and 2.5 million tickets will be available for £20 and under. Others start at between £30 and £50.

Children under 17 will be able to "pay-your-age" to see some of the early heats, while the over-60s can watch for £16 at the same events.

Some 75% - or 6.6 million - of the 8.8 million tickets are available to the general public via the application process.

Of the remaining 2.2 million tickets, roughly half will be issued to National Olympic Committees (NOC) of each country, and half will be split between sponsors, the IOC, guests and hospitality partners.

People from some European countries can apply through the London 2012 website but residents of other countries can apply through their National Olympic Committee or appointed authorised ticket reseller.

Games organisers have faced calls from the London Assembly for a record of all tickets reserved for officials, politicians and VIPs to be published.

A further two million tickets for the Paralympic Games go on sale on 9 September.

Meanwhile, 10 councils in London have decided not to accept an offer to buy up to 100 Olympics tickets.

They are Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Bromley, Camden, Kingston, Croydon, Harrow, Havering, Redbridge and Westminster.

London 2012 said any tickets not taken up would be offered to the public.

Touting clampdown

There has been some criticism of the ticket-buying process as all online tickets can be only paid for with a Visa card.

Olympics organisers Locog say this is in recognition of Visa's sponsorship of the Games, but critics say it is unfair.

Visa Europe has said people who do not have a Visa debit or credit card and do not wish to get one can obtain a Visa prepaid card to purchase Olympic tickets.

Concerns have also been raised about payments made on Visa debit cards.

Locog says payment will be taken between 10 May and 10 June and people will be told by 24 June which events they have tickets for.

This could mean money going out of bank accounts before the buyer knows which tickets they are getting.

Efforts are being stepped up to curb ticket touting, with the government planning to raise the maximum penalty from £5,000 to £20,000.

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