Clamour for Games tickets

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The Independent Online

The demand for tickets for next year's Commonwealth Games in Manchester has confounded expectations, with over 500,000 requested during the first six weeks of availability.

The clamour for tickets has already seen some events over-subscribed by two to one, with 13 of the 19 events set to resort to a lottery for at least one session.

The news refutes suggestions that the declining popularity of athletics and doubts over the suitability of Manchester as a venue may dissuade spectators from travelling to the Games from 25 July to 3 August next year. It also provides a much-needed boost to Britain's reputation as a home for major sporting events, a reputation which has recently taken a battering with the collapse of the 2005 World Athletics Championship bid and problems over plans for a new national football stadium at Wembley.

In the first phase of sales – from 1 October to 15 November – tickets demand has already equalled last year's Sydney Olympics. At the same stage of sales, the Australians had sold exactly the same percentage – 41 per cent – of available tickets. Organisers have predicted that the demand for Manchester will translate to confirmed UK sales of over 310,000 – more than any previous Games has sold in total.