Paralympics set to be a sell-out


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The London 2012 Paralympics is set to be a sell-out but people should still expect to see some gaps in seating, chief executive Paul Deighton said today.

"We have now sold about 2.3 million tickets. Our target was always to get to 2.5 million and we will," he said.

"My guess is that we will have another 200,000 or so tickets to sell, about half of those will be on sale before Games-time."

The organisers are "delighted" with the interest in the Paralympics.

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe predicted that many people watching these events for the first-time will be "blown away".

Many of the day pass tickets have been created to allow people to take in different sports as many of them will be new spectators of Paralympic events.

Mr Deighton said: "If you take the venues like Goalball where effectively you have got a mixture of people in that venue and about a quarter of seats will be general admission for people who want to watch that sport - then there will be about three-quarter of the seats that will be for people who are rotating through on a day pass.

"The whole point is to give people a chance to sample different sports so you will see a churn through the biggest chunk of most of those venues. You will see some empty seats there as people move through them and try different sports. "

Figuring out the availability of tickets, which is affected by issues such as seating and camera positions, organisers "really are down to the last two or three per cent of tickets in each venue," according to Mr Deighton.

He said: "We really only want to make sure that we only sell a ticket where a seat actually exists and you have a good view."

The take-up and resale of some tickets which go to the athletes' friends and families depends on who qualifies for the later rounds of the competitions.

Members of the public should expect to see some empty accredited seats at the Paralympics, an issue that frustrated many spectators who could not get a ticket for the Olympics.

He said: "There are fewer accredited seats at the Paralympic Games than there were for the Olympics but it is still the same basic situation where we set aside banks of seats for athletes to watch their fellow athletes, for broadcasters, written press, officials and representatives from the sports federations.

"To the extent our experience of how they churn through those seats tells us that if it is possible to sell some more we will put those on the market just as we did at the Olympic Games."

He imagines it will "probably be slightly fewer" tickets available than came up during the Olympics as the organisers now have more experience of managing the seating arrangements.

He said: "Our very detailed understanding of where you have a restricted view or haven't and where you can move the barriers between accredited and non-accredited areas is really very well refined now.

"I think the way we can manage the bowl at the Paralympics is much more rifle shot because of the experience we had at the Olympics."

The ticket sales budget for the Paralympics is more than £25 million in comparison to the Olympic Games of half a billion.

Lord Coe said: "I think we can genuinely say we can raise the bar over the next few weeks."

The London 2012 Paralympics look set to capture the imagination not just of young people but people of all ages, he predicted, adding: "Without being too jingoistic or nationalistic about it, I think we can really say that the Paralympic Games are coming home."

There will be 4,280 athletes taking part and countries making debut appearances include Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, the United States Virgin Islands and San Marino.

Up to 166 National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) - the largest number ever to attend a Paralympic Games - and around 70% of London 2012's Games Maker volunteers will be new workers who were not involved in the Olympics.

There will be a central team which stays in place to carry lessons across from the Olympic Games.

There will be 20 sports covering 21 disciplines across the 11 days of competition at the Paralympics.

Athletes will compete at 19 venues in 503 events which will be broken down into 284 sessions.

A "sizeable chunk" of forces members who were working during the Olympics have now been stood down, Mr Deighton noted.

There will be a military force of about 3,500 with 1,000 in reserve and a private security force of between 4,000 and 5,000.

Mr Deighton added: "We have essentially shifted from an Olympic Games situation, where there was a slight majority of military, to a Paralympic Games of security guards."