Olympic ticket deadline extended after website problems

The application period for London 2012 Olympic Games tickets was extended by an hour to 1am this morning after a late surge in interest led to delays on the ticketing website.

Problems struck for about 20 minutes from 10.30pm last night, as the clock ticked down to the 11.59pm deadline for the 6.6million tickets, and a London 2012 spokesman confirmed last night that the deadline had been extended by an hour.

With an hour remaining until the midnight deadline for members of the public to register for tickets, which will be allocated later by ballot, some users were met by a holding message.

The website, http://www.tickets.london2012.com, displayed a page telling would-be customers: "We're experiencing high demand. You will be automatically directed to the page requested as soon as it becomes available. Thank you for your patience."

But by 11.30pm the site seemed to be functioning normally and allowing visitors to the site to sign in and register for tickets.

Sports fans were told that the six-week ticket application period was a marathon, not a sprint, and that they would have the same chance of getting a ticket on the first or the last day of the process.

There are 650 sessions across 26 sports and 17 days to choose from and people will be limited to a maximum of 20 events each.

Prices range from £20 to £2,012.

They include paying up to £2,012 for the opening ceremony, up to £725 for the showpiece 100 metres athletics final and between £50 and £325 for the track cycling finals.

It is expected that any unsold tickets will be made available in further ballots at a later date, along with the possibility of additional tickets for higher-profile events being released as venues are tested and capacities finalised.

London 2012 chief executive Paul Deighton had said that since last Friday the number of applications had jumped from "a high level to a really high level".

The last week had seen "three or four times the applications above and beyond what was coming in for the previous five weeks".

Despite being aware there would be "incredible" interest in the final days before the applications closed, he was also confident the system could cope and avoid a meltdown.

He had said: "The system has actually worked faultlessly and with a process of this scale and complexity that is extraordinary.

"When things work, nobody really notices and the job my team has done with this system is phenomenal."

Sports fans will find out whether or not they have secured tickets by June 24.

London 2012 needs to raise £500million from the sale of tickets as it tries to raise £2billion from the private sector to stage the Games.