Olympics 2012: Summer Games Excitement Drives Sales of Paralympics Tickets

5:58 AM PST 08/08/2012 by Georg Szalai

Britain's Channel 4 has promised the country's most comprehensive coverage ever of the event that starts at the end of August.

LONDON - Amid the current Summer Olympics excitement and British medal success here, tickets for the Paralympic Games that kick off later this month have been snapped up in bigger-than-usual numbers. And organizers say that Paralympics tickets could for the first time in history sell out or get close to doing so.

London Olympics and Paralympics organizing committee chairman Sebastian Coe told BBC television that up to 2.5 million people per day are accessing the official London 2012 ticketing web site, which offers tickets for the Olympics and Paralympics.

An online search for Paralympics tickets on Wednesday found no current availabilities for tickets to the opening or closing ceremonies, wheelchair tennis, wheelchair rugby, soccer and a range of other competitions. Tickets were available for such sports as powerlifting, sitting volleyball and boccia though.

Organizers said that as of the Olympics opening ceremony they had sold 1.4 million Paralympics tickets, which left 900,000 tickets unsold.

The International Paralympic Committee hasn't updated its sales figures, but says interest has risen since Team Great Britain started winning a slew of medals.

"Since the start of the Olympics, Games fever has hit the country and we have seen a noticeable rise in the number of inquiries we are receiving and the number of people following us on Facebook and Twitter," Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of the British Paralympic Association, told BBC News. "While ticket sales so far have been stronger than for any other Paralympics, we want the stadia to be packed to the rafters with British supporters."

The buzz and excitement surrounding the Paralympics is also good news for Channel 4, which has promised the most comprehensive coverage of the event in U.K. history.

London will host the 16th Paralympic Games, which saw their first edition in Rome in 1960. For many of the Games, free tickets were handed out in large numbers, even though Beijing 2008 managed to sell 1.8 million for rock-bottom prices. Some predict London could match or exceed that number.

London organizers have bet on affordable ticket prices, saying that three-quarters cost only £20 ($31.30) or less.

The Paralympics take place here from Aug. 29 through Sept. 9.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

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