VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Oct 12 (Reuters) Tickets for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver will go on sale in October 2008, and organizers said their goal was to make them more affordable so all events are sold out.
About 1.6 million tickets for the various competitions will available, with half expected to cost C100 dollars or less and 50,000 to be distributed free to low-income patrons, Vancouver organizers said.
Ticket sales will start October 11, 2008, after the end of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The Vancouver Games will be held between February 12 and February 28, 2010, and followed by the Paralympic Games.
''We want people to be able to go. We want people to be able to attend,'' John Furlong, chief executive of the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC), told reporters yesterday, saying there was already strong demand internationally.
VANOC said its distribution system should avoid a problem that plagued the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, where unused tickets meant some sporting events were performed before sparse live audiences.
''We are delivering on our goal of ensuring that every venue is full, every seat is used for every event for every single event,'' Furlong said.
Ticket prices for the opening and closing ceremonies will range between C$175 and C$1,100, making them less costly than the 2006 ceremonies in Turin and the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City, organizers said.
Ticket sales are expected to generate nearly C$24 million in revenue, but VANOC said higher than expected revenue from sponsorships and other sources allowed them to increase the number of lower-priced seats available.
Competitions will be held in Vancouver and the ski resort of Whistler, about 125 km (70 miles) away, and VANOC said it was working on plans to reduce the cost of traveling between the communities and events.
International Olympic Committee rules require 30 per cent of the tickets be made available to related groups such as national organizing committees, corporate sponsors and the athletes.
Ticket distribution will not happen until late 2009 to reduce potential counterfeiting, officials said.
SECURITY POST NAMED In a separate announcement on Thursday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper named Ward Elcock - who headed Canada's spy agency from 1994 to 2004 - as coordinator of security for the 2010 Games.
The federal government is responsible for security during the Games and is in the process of updating its original C$175-million cost estimate, which has been criticized in internal police documents as being inadequate.
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