Best seats in the house for the Olympics? £1,000, please

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The Independent Online

An Olympics in London would mean the most expensive ticket in Games history and, for £1,000, the purchaser will not even get to see any competitive sport. The price would be for the best seats at the opening ceremony at the Olympic stadium in Stratford.

In Athens last summer and Sydney in 2000, top-of-the-range tickets cost between £600 and £700, The high cost of London seat was revealed yesterday during the inspection by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Bid officials said those tickets were only a small proportion of eight million made available and would probably be purchased by corporate clients.

Such prices would also help to subsidise other tickets which will cost on average £40, with three-quarters of the total for under £50. At the bottom end, there would be a rover ticket to watch sport on screens in the Olympic Park and £15 would buy access to the early round of less popular sports such as badminton and equestrian.

David Magliano, marketing director of London 2012, said: "The cheapest tickets for the opening ceremony will be £70. The most expensive tickets tend to be bought by affluent people and corporates who can afford them."

Forecasts included in the Games budget state 82 per cent of tickets would be sold, contributing to an operating profit for the Games of £100m. The cost of the infrastructure for the Games, including transport and building projects that would benefit the capital afterwards, is officially estimated at £2.375bn. About £1.5bn would come from the lottery, including a dedicated game, with the remainder raised through Londoners' council tax and from the London Development Agency, the Mayor's property arm.

The IOC inspection team spent the morning hearing presentations in their Docklands hotel then travelled to Downing Street for a lunchtime meeting with the Prime Minister and other party leaders.

Tony Blair's message of political backing was given in the Cabinet room where portraits of Britain's sporting greats were hastily hung next to the existing paintings of political figures.

No 10 had been told not to offer the IOC food since that is allowed only at the one designated social function hosted last night by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Earlier, a crucial session to determine the level of political support behind the bid was fronted by Tessa Jowell, the Secretary of State for Culture, alongside London Mayor Ken Livingstone, trying to assure the IOC the bid had been more thoroughly prepared than the campaign to stage the World Athletics Championships in 2005 at Pickett's Lock, north London. After winning the bid, the Blair Government withdrew as host, citing financial concerns.

Ms Jowell has called on Mr Livingstone to apologise for remarks made to a Jewish newspaper reporter. Bid officials insisted their IOC guests had not mentioned the furore surrounding Mr Livingstone, who has promised to make a statement - thought to be some sort of apology - at a press conference on Tuesday.