Two million people have signed up for tickets for the London 2012 Olympics, chief executive Paul Deighton said today.
Organisers are steeling themselves for the “mind-boggling” task of masterminding the ticket sales, as well as planning and managing seats for the 8.8 million tickets, which are vital to raising £2bn (€2.35bn) from the private sector to stage the Games.
The London 2012 organisation needs to get 25% of its revenue from ticket sales.
The 6.6 million tickets for the public go on sale in March and, according to Deighton: “The sheer scale of this is mind-blowing. Just the operational stuff is mind-blowing.”
The real pressure will come when the application system goes live in what London 2012 chairman Lord Coe has described as the “daddy of all ticketing strategies”.
Mr Deighton said: “One of the key things for us in March is to make sure that things go smoothly. Making sure that everyone understands there is no advantage in submitting applications on the day.
“With two million people (on the database now), and probably nearer 2.5 million by March, it is also about making sure they are transferred into the ticketing system.
“It is a year of extraordinary demands in getting ready for the Games and in terms of operational delivery.
“Don’t forget most of our venues are not yet built. Work is being done on how many games of volleyball are in one session, how many television channels there will be and where are the televisions going to go. And all this is given that we still have to get our licences.
“The showjumping venue in Greenwich and the beach volleyball venue in Horse Guards is just a diagram on a page at the moment and we are figuring out if it is A4 or A3. We have to figure out how many seats there are.
“We (London 2012) have been around for five years now and this process (ticket sales) is really an important part of a project.”
London 2012’s ticket strategy, dubbed the “fans in front plan”, is to have full stadia of screaming fans as “it works for the athletes, it works for television and the atmosphere”, Mr Deighton said.
Data from the two million registered people so far shows that “by and large more females than males” have signed up and many are opting to try to see several events.
Mr Deighton said this means “they want an Olympic experience” and “may be hedging their bets so if they cannot see Tom Daley in the diving, they will try and see someone in something else”.
The prices of two million tickets for the Paralympics will be announced next autumn.
Mr Deighton said: “I guess to some extent the Olympics will be a dry run. What we learn about the process and people’s interests will feed in.
“We want the Paralympics to have their own moment in the sun, with people feeling this is a brilliant event and I want to come to this wonderful event. ParalympicsGB are going to do brilliantly and I want to watch them.”
The number of tickets for the 26 Olympic sports increased by eight million in October but it has not quietened complaints about prices.