Australians slow out of the blocks for Olympics

DESPITE a new sports hero being wheeled out every day, from just- retired cricket captain, Mark Taylor, to the young star of Wimbledon, Jelena Dokic, efforts to persuade Australians to buy tickets for the Sydney Olympics next year have been branded a failure.

They have had the first pick of tickets to the Millennium Games, but have proved curiously reluctant to snap them up. The exclusive six-week period in which Australian residents could apply ended at midnight on Friday: despite a last-minute rush, the Sydney Morning Herald said, the marketing campaign has failed.

The Sydney organising committee reserved 5 million of the 9.6 million tickets for the Australian public, but in the first two weeks of the six- week ballot it received only 34,000 applications. By last week that had risen to "more than 50,000". Unless almost every Australian applied in the last day or two, the committee will end up with millions of unsold tickets.

In Sydney, the euphoria of 1993, when it learned it had won the contest to host the 2000 Olympics and let off an unprecedented number of fireworks from the Harbour Bridge, is all but exhausted. The business district is disrupted by building works, Bondi residents are objecting to the construction of a volleyball stadium which will shut half the beach for nine months, and shopkeepers on the route to Stadium Australia, the main venue, are complaining that traffic measures will ruin their businesses.

The main reason for reluctance to buy tickets for the Olympics, however, appears to be the cost. Apart from the finals of the athletics and swimming, the events most likely to be oversubscribed were the opening and closing ceremonies; but on those days more than 90,000 of the 110,000 seats in Stadium Australia have been designated "Class A", at A$1,382 (pounds 600) a seat. Most applications have been for the small number designated "Class D", at A$105.

To see the finals of the men's and women's 100 metres races will cost at least A$165, while the last session at the Aquatics Centre is priced at A$455.

In its defence the organising committee has pointed out that 70 per cent of tickets for the Olympics cost less than A$60, but that assumes people will be interested in watching more obscure events, such as archery, Graeco-Roman wrestling, and modern pentathlon.

"We're very comfortable with where we are," said John O'Neill, the organising committee's ticketing communications manager. "We think we will have a very good result."

Cynics are saying that the organisers deliberately overpriced tickets for the most popular events, confident that overseas demand from well- heeled foreign tourists will exceed supply.

But a survey of visitors to the 1996 Games in Atlanta suggests that most Olympics fans are interested only in the sport they have come to see, and by-pass other attractions. Far from staying in five-star hotels, eating and drinking in expensive restaurants and bars and seeking out cultural attractions as well as sport, the average Olympics visitor stays in a motel, eats at McDonald's and largely restricts spending to tickets for the most popular sporting events. Sydney, which has spent a million dollars on a facelift, from widening pavements to providing official fruit stalls, may reap less international income than it expects.

More and more Sydney residents - including the press officer of the Olympics Co- ordinating Authority, it has emerged - are planning to be away during the Games. This has given Melbourne, Sydney's traditional rival, an idea. If you are planning to rent out your house during the Olympics, the Victorian Tourist Commission is suggesting to Sydneysiders, why not come and spend three weeks in Melbourne?

Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
news
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
people
Arts and Entertainment
Tulisa as a judge on the X Factor in 2012
tvLouis Walsh confirms star's return
Life and Style
fashionClothes shop opens on Bill Clinton Boulevard in Pristina
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Manager - Pensions

£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

Project Coordinator - Cisco Partner - £110 p/d

£110 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Project Coordinator (SC Cleared), Cisco Go...

KYC Analyst, Birmingham - £200-£250 p/d

£200 - £250 per day + competitive: Orgtel: KYC Analyst, Key Banking Client, Bi...

Test Manager - Banking - Yorkshire - £450 per day

£400 - £500 per day: Orgtel: Test Manager - Banking - West Yorkshire - £400-£5...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone