London 2012 chief confident over football ticket sales
London 2012 chief executive is convinced tickets for the Olympic football tournament will sell - eventually
London 2012 chief executive Paul Deighton is confident there won’t be swathes of empty seats for the Olympic football tournament – and has hinted Manchester’s Old Trafford is a strong contender to stage Great Britain matches.
Football was the only Olympic sport not to sell out in the first phase of ticketing and 1.5 million seats will go back on sale later this year.
However, Deighton has cautioned that until the 16-team men’s and 12-team women’s tournament is finalised, with the tournament draw expected next May, the process may take time.
“It’s the only sport that hasn’t sold out, but it’s also the sport for which we’ve sold the most tickets and have the most tickets available,” said Deighton, at the launch of a scheme in Stockport that aims to get 2,000 adults inspired to take up sport.
“The glass is very much half full rather than half empty and the other thing to remember is the people who’ve already bought tickets, about 800,000 seats in total, have no idea what teams they’re going watch yet.
“So, what we expect to be doing over the next few months, is to begin to establish where the big teams will play.
“Wherever the British team will be playing will generate huge interest, because it’s the first time the people in this country will have seen Team GB, as opposed to England and the other nations.
“We’ll also see about the other big nations, like Brazil and Spain. That’s going to be a huge driver for sales of the remaining tickets and football fans don’t normally buy tickets until the last minute anyway.”
Olympic football is being staged in Cardiff, Coventry, Glasgow and Newcastle, in addition to Manchester and London’s Wembley Stadium, which will host both finals.
Organisers have long been pressured to host Great Britain’s matches outside of the capital, with Cardiff rumoured to be favourite to stage the Team GB’s first group match in the men’s draw on Thursday July 26th, the day before the opening ceremony.
However, 76,000 capacity Old Trafford is the second largest ground and is already slated to stage a quarter-final and semi-final in the men’s competition.
Deighton also predicted next year’s Team GB football shirt could be one of the big-selling items in a merchandising programme Locog hopes will net £100m.
“Many people have an England, a Scotland, a Wales or a Northern Ireland football shirt but the Team GB football kit will be really unique,” he added.
“It will be one of the pieces of merchandise that people will want as a keepsake of the Games.”