Olympic tickets go on sale without a hitch

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The Independent Online

Ticket sales for the Olympics started today without any problems, according to London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe.

He is urging sports fans not to rush to make their online applications - at http://www.tickets.london2012.com - for any of the 6.6 million tickets. There are six weeks to April 26 at 11.59pm to apply.

Coe said: "It has been up since midnight. We have had no reported glitches.

"It is not a first-come, first served system and there will be no greater chance of getting a ticket if you apply on the first day rather than later.

"A ballot will decide who get seats for the oversubscribed hot ticket events."

Coe described it as a "momentous moment" for everyone at London 2012, who must raise £2billion from the private sector to stage the Games.

He said: "This starts the journey for those who have been dreaming of getting hold of an Olympic ticket since the day we won the bid in 2005 - these really are the greatest tickets on earth."

The tickets cover 26 sports, over 645 sessions and at 34 competition venues. Tickets range from £20 to £2,012.

About 2.5 million tickets across more than 200 events will cost £20 or under, with sports fan paying an average of £47 to watch an event according to Coe.

He argues that this compares well with big sports events such as the Champions League or the Premier League.

There are no second thoughts about some of the high-priced tickets for London 2012, which include paying up to £2,012 for the opening ceremony, up to £725 for the showpiece 100m athletics final and between £50 and £325 for the track cycling finals.

London 2012 has launched a series of discount schemes, driven by a £25 levy on hospitality tickets, aiming at getting both young and old people to the events.

The Ticketshare scheme focuses on secondary schools. There is also the Pay Your Age scheme in which under-16s will pay their age while the over-60s pay a flat £16 rate.

More than 2.5 million people signed up to the ticket website before sales began to say they were interested in going to the Games and around two million said they want to watch the track and field competitions.

Of the 2.5 million people who have signed up for tickets, 50% are from outside the South East and 4% are from overseas.

Coe added: "London will be a fantastic place to be in the summer of 2012, with a unique atmosphere and we look forward to welcoming the world to our city and to the UK."

Ticket and accommodation packages are also available in the UK through Thomas Cook.

Up to one million tickets are available for sports fans outside the UK via National Olympic Committees and their authorised ticket resellers.

A series of measures have been launched to thwart fraudsters at the 2012 Games.

The maximum fine for ticket-touting at the 2012 Olympics is going up from £5,000 to £20,000 and a team of Scotland Yard detectives have already made 49 arrests to combat touts.