Beckham absence will not hit Olympic ticket sales

LONDON Sat Jun 30, 2012 7:16am EDT

Soccer star David Beckham attends the 27th Anniversary Sports Spectacular benefiting Cedars-Sinai Medical Genetics Institute in Los Angeles, California May 20, 2012. REUTERS/Bret Hartman

Soccer star David Beckham attends the 27th Anniversary Sports Spectacular benefiting Cedars-Sinai Medical Genetics Institute in Los Angeles, California May 20, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Bret Hartman

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LONDON (Reuters) - David Beckham's absence from Britain's Olympic team will have no impact on ticket sales for the soccer tournament starting in a few weeks' time, London 2012 chief executive Paul Deighton told Reuters.

Former England captain Beckham, 37, said on Thursday he had not been selected for the squad due to be announced next week by Team GB men's manager Stuart Pearce and British Olympic officials.

There are still more than a million soccer tickets available.

"David is a great asset...the only point I'd make though is that the men's GB football games are pretty much sold out in any case, so we're probably already there," Deighton told Reuters on a visit to the Olympic village in east London.

"Had we had men's team GB tickets unsold, then obviously the David Beckham factor would have helped us but we are lucky enough to be in a position where those are close enough to done," he added.

"It's hard to directly tie the David Beckham factor with where we have spare capacity."

Soccer tickets make up the bulk of unsold seats for the Games, due to the size of venues like Wembley Stadium or Manchester United's Old Trafford ground.

Beckham, England's most capped outfield player with 115 appearances, had pushed hard to be in the British team as an over-age player and had been seen as a strong driver for ticket sales early in the process.

The later stage men's games, such as quarter-finals, are largely sold out

Deighton said LOCOG had still sold more tickets for football than anything else and could be sure of far bigger gates for women's games than for any previous women's match held in Britain.

"Typically people buy football tickets quite late anyway," he added. "We're perfectly comfortable with where we are and every week more ticket sales keep coming through. I think it'll be fine."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Patrick Johnston)

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