London 2012 ceremonies sold out after surge for tickets

By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Ticket applications for next year's London Olympics far exceeded supply with more than half of the 650 sessions oversubscribed and going to a ballot, organizers said on Wednesday.

The showcase opening and closing ceremonies were among those events declared sold out, with early indications showing that more than 20 million tickets were applied for and only 6.6 million on offer.

Some 1.8 million people, more than 95 percent of them British residents eager to be part of a once-in-a-lifetime home Games, made requests in the six-week window up to Tuesday's midnight deadline.

Organizers, who kept the ticketing website open for an extra hour after a late surge in demand brought it to a standstill, said applications were received for every session and every sport in every price range.

"We are thrilled with the response right across the board, in all sports and all sessions," said LOCOG chairman Sebastian Coe in a statement.

"Certain events have seen massive demand -- for example the opening ceremony, which is more than 10 times oversubscribed, so there will understandably be disappointment and we will find a way to go back to those people with other tickets."


Organizers said track cycling, rhythmic gymnastics, triathlon, modern pentathlon, equestrian (cross country) and the opening and closing ceremonies were sell-out events.

All will go to ballot, as will most of the sessions for swimming and tennis.

LOCOG said they would now check and de-duplicate applications before running the ballots to determine who got tickets.

Money will then be taken from accounts from May 10 with customers receiving confirmation in June of what events they have tickets for.

Unsuccessful applicants will be given further chances in June and July to buy unallocated tickets.

"What is most encouraging is that the majority of applications are for multiple tickets and for several sports, which shows that friends and family are planning to go to the Games together," said Coe.

Organizers hope to raise about 400 million pounds ($662.8 million) from ticket sales.

(Editing by Ken Ferris)