Ticket process for London 2012 Olympics opens

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The Independent Online

London 2012 chiefs today insisted the bulk of the 7.5milllion tickets to be made available to the general public next year will end up in the hands of genuine British Olympic fans.

Organisers today kicked off a year's build-up to the tickets going on sale in 2011 by announcing a further 300,000 tickets will be made available for the Olympics and 500,000 more for the Paralympics.

Fans can register their interest now however in particular events through http://www.tickets.london2012.com, and this morning 10,000 people per hour were signing up.

Of the 10million total tickets, 75% will be sold via a ballot that will be open to anyone living with the European Union - as required by EU law.

London 2012 chief executive Paul Deighton said, however, he did not expect many takers from the continent as they would be more likely to access tickets from traditional routes through their individual countries' national Olympic committees.

Deighton said: "We expect the vast majority of the tickets in the ballot will stay in the UK, with people abroad going through their national Olympic committees.

"In the highly unlikely circumstance that we are deluged with international applications into the UK ballot we will look at the situation and speak to the IOC and see what steps we can take.

"But this is a hypothetical risk and is unlikely to happen. We would be very, very surprised if we need to do that. We are only marketing to the UK.

"People from abroad can sign up, but this is no different from Brits being able to go to the World Cup in Berlin - it's standard practice and it is not causing us any undue concern."

Deighton said the range of ticket prices would be announced in the autumn but that organisers would pitch them so they were affordable and guaranteed full venues.

He added: "We think the scarcity value of the Olympic Games in this country is compelling. The fact we are going to make them affordable will increase demand, we will make sure the price will work.

"We will adhere to our commitment for millions and millions of affordable tickets."

Deighton said only 1% of tickets would go to "prestige hospitality" although a further 3% will go to less expensive hospitality and travel packages. Some 8% will go to sponsors and broadcasters, and 13% to the Olympic family.

Although London 2012 are not announcing any prices, the average cost of ticket can be worked out at around £44 - including free travel on zones one to six in London - from the organising committee's budget.

Conservative estimates have suggested an income of £440million from the 10million tickets.

Some tickets will be sold giving access to the Olympic Park but not to actual events.

People will be able to buy any returns handed back by fans who leave events earlier, and to watch the action in a giant screen inside the park.

Deighton said the information provided by people who want to register their interest now would be passed on to the sports concerned but would not be used by the security services.