Olympics-Unprecedented demand for 2012 Paralympics

LONDON, Sept 27 Tue Sep 27, 2011 8:40am EDT

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LONDON, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Demand for tickets for next year's Paralympic Games has been unprecedented and many of the sessions will have to go to a ballot, London 2012 chief executive Paul Deighton said on Tuesday.

Ticket sales in Britain opened on Sept. 9 and closed on Monday.

Speaking to Reuters at the opening of a Team GB and ParalympicsGB outlet at the new Westfield shopping centre at the Olympic Park in east London, Deighton said the public response had been exceptional.

"We are still sorting through the final numbers but we are delighted with the outcome. We have sold hundreds and hundreds of thousands, a very impressive return. In Paralympic terms, it's unprecedented," he said.

"There's a substantial number of sessions where we will have to go to ballot because they've been over-subscribed, which again I think is probably a first for the Paralympic Games."

He said the over-subscribed sessions were more widely spread across the sports than might have been expected, and not just the popular ceremonies, cycling and wheelchair basketball.

Deighton said the ticket sales would not change the overall financial picture for organisers LOCOG, even though revenues from the Olympics and Paralympics are combined before working out any profits.

"Our projections for Paralympic ticket sales were always pretty strong, so basically what we are going to do is hit our target," he said.

Deighton attributed the demand, for an event that starts once the Olympics are over, to Britons being great consumers of sport as well as a side-effect of all the Olympic events at the showcase venues being sold out.

"The roots of the Paralympic movement are here and there's much more interest here than is typically the case," he said.

"And I think people also see it as a way of continuing the celebrations of the summer of 2012, of being part of the whole thing and getting into seeing some of our great venues."

The remaining tickets for the Paralympics will be put on sale online in December along with some 1.5 million Olympic soccer tickets.

There will also be a further sale of around a million Olympic tickets held back while sight lines and broadcasting positions inside venues were finalised.

"The remaining Olympic Games tickets will come back on sale probably in April next year when we have finalised precisely all the venues...so we know exactly how many tickets we have got left for each sport," added Deighton. (Editing by Clare Fallon; For Reuters sports blog Left Field go to: blogs.reuters.com/sport)

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