Paralympic ticket sales 'unprecedented'

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Sales of Paralympic tickets easily "beat my expectation across a wide range of sports", London 2012 chief executive Paul Deighton said today.

Applications for the first 1.5 million tickets for the London 2012 Paralympics closed yesterday with many sold-out sessions now having to be decided by a random ballot. These include the opening and closing ceremonies plus track, cycling and swimming.

Mr Deighton said: "We are delighted with the outcome. The interest was extremely strong.

"We are still tallying things up but hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of tickets (were applied for). It beat my expectation across a wide range of sports.

"There will be quite a number of ballots for specific sessions given the oversubscriptions we have had. We are really pleased. It has been quite unprecedented in Paralympic history."

He was speaking as he helped three-time Olympic cycle champion Bradley Wiggins plus mascots Wenlock and Mandeville open a London 2012 shop in the new Westfield shopping centre that neighbours the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London.

London 2012 are aiming to raise £20-£30 million from Paralympic ticket sales.

"We will certainly be all right for that," Mr Deighton said.

Ballots will be run by the different sessions and price points for all the oversubscribed sessions.

These will include opening and closing ceremonies' tickets at the lowest price of £20.12. Sessions for the track cycling, swimming and the final rounds of wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis were also oversubscribed.

Payment will be taken by October 31 and applicants will find out if they have been successful by November 18.

Three-quarters of the total two million tickets available before the Games are priced at £20 or less, and half at £10 or less.

More than 4,200 Paralympic athletes, with a variety of disabilities, from 150 nations will take part in 20 sports.

Star names such as South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius plus British swimmer Ellie Simmonds and wheelchair racer David Weir are big draws.

London 2012 are keen to avoid the embarrassing scenes of half-empty venues which have plagued previous Games and are confident of sell-outs.

Sports fans and spectators will get another two more chances to buy tickets on a first-come first-served basis.

All unsold Paralympic tickets, along with what remains of the Olympic football tickets, will go online at the end of this year.

Mr Deighton said: "There were only soccer tickets that were really left over from the Olympics.

"We sold a lot of soccer tickets but there were a large number so there are still some of those."

Another online ticket release is set for April 2012. This will probably coincide with the big rush of people still trying to get a seat at the Games. Up to another 1.3 million tickets may come up for sale.

The exact number of tickets in this batch will also be influenced by the finalised seating and staging plans for the ceremonies which affect the amount of space that will be used.

Mr Deighton said: "The reason we have been waiting is to be as precise as we can with the numbers (of seats).

"It takes a while before the creatives finally settle on who is going to be sitting where and doing what. These are all things which determine how many tickets you will have to sell to the public."