Daily Mirror: The starting gun sounded yesterday as millions of sports fans joined the race for tickets to the London 2012 Olympics.
Everything was off and running – apart from the newly-unveiled Olympic Countdown Clock in Trafalgar Square, which embarrassingly stopped working less than 24 hours after it started. Ticket applications are open for the next six weeks, until April 26, and there are 6.6 million available.
Games chairman Lord Seb Coe described it as a “momentous moment”. He said: “This starts the journey for those who have been dreaming of getting hold of an Olympic ticket since the day we won the bid in 2005 – these really are the greatest tickets on Earth.”
But there is no need to panic – as it is not a first come, first served system. Instead, a ballot will be used to decide who gets seats for the “hot” events such as the 100m final, expected to star Usain Bolt.
Some people were left frustrated yesterday after a hiccup in card transactions. Visa is the only way to reserve tickets online but fans with cards that expire before the end of August 2011 found the website could not process their orders.
Half of the 2.5 million people who signed up for tickets are from outside the South East, with 4% from overseas. The tickets cover 26 sports over 645 sessions at 34 competition venues. They range from £20 to £2,012 – with an average of around £47 per event.
There are already measures in place to deter touts, with the maximum fine up from £5,000 to £20,000. Last night experts were working to get the countdown clock ticking again. A spokesman for Olympic sponsor Omega said: “We’re very disappointed it has stopped. It’s a technical fault.”