SOCOG looks for good ticket sales by year's end

Sydney Olympics organizers said today they hope to exceed expectations by selling more than 130 million US dlrs worth of tickets to Australians by the end of the year.

Sydney Olympics organizers said today they hope to exceed expectations by selling more than 130 million US dlrs worth of tickets to Australians by the end of the year.

Sandy Hollway, chief executive of the Sydney Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, said more than 435,000 tickets worth about 20 million US dlrs had been purchased by Australians in the delayed second-round offer.

Over half of the 102,243 people who applied for second-round tickets got everything they wanted and more than 75,000 received most of what they asked for, he said.

SOCOG has already made about 95 million US dlrs from the 1.5 million tickets sold in the first-round ballot and expects to get another $16 million US dlrs from the 200,000 top-class seats that were added to the public offer after originally being quarantined for premium packages.

SOCOG had budgeted to raise 145 million to 165 million US dlrs in domestic ticket sales by the time the Games begin next September, with 115 million US dlrs in the bank by the end of the year.

Hollway said that as the latter figure was now likely to top 130 million US dlrs, it showed the public was able to distinguish between the ticketing fiasco which has dogged SOCOG for the last two months, and the Games themselves.

"It's probably had little if any impact on people's interest in getting to the Games and getting hold of the tickets early," he said.

Including international sales, SOCOG expects to raise a record 395 million US dlrs from tickets.

The New South Wales parliamentary committee is expected to table its report into the ticketing saga in the state's Legislative Council on Tuesday.

It is understood that the review will not name the individuals or companies who purchased premium tickets from SOCOG at large markups, although it could call on Olympics Minister Michael Knight to release their names.

Knight has refused to do so in the past.

Two months ago, Olympic organizers admitted that the Australian public stood almost no chance of getting tickets for some events at the Games because premium seats were held back from sale.

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