COMMONWEALTH Games organisers have resorted to their first discount offer in an attempt to shift unsold tickets for the opening ceremony of the 2014 event in Glasgow.
The move comes after an unprecedented 92 per cent of tickets for next year’s Games were snapped up by last month, but a quarter of those for the “showstopping curtain raiser” at Celtic Park remained available.
In a move aimed at the Christmas market, Games officials are marketing tickets for the opening ceremony as a “truly special gift”. The official website yesterday showed “high availability” for the more expensive seats, which are priced £250 and £180. Cheaper tickets for the event, priced between £40 and £120, appear to have sold out.
In an effort to boost sales, buyers are offered 20 per cent off Glasgow 2014 merchandise, such as clothing and gifts.
They would also receive a “limited edition” and “exclusive” gift card – although a spokeswoman explained this was simply because tickets were not yet available.
According to Games officials, the opening ceremony on Wednesday, 23 July will be “unique, pioneering and never-to-be-repeated” and “an experience like no other”.
“It’s not too late to book the best seats in the house, your place in history.”
However, no details have been disclosed about the event, which Glasgow 2014 chief executive David Grevemberg said would be a celebration of both “historical and contemporary” Glasgow and Scotland.
Some observers have criticised the prices. Glasgow resident Gordon Stewart said: “No wonder the opening ceremony is not sold out when they are charging a ridiculous £180 for tickets to watch people walking around a pitch with flags. If they want the people of Glasgow to feel part of the Games, charging extortionate prices is not the way to go about it.”
Tickets are still available for six of the 17 sports, with “high availability” for some badminton, boxing, lawn bowls, rugby sevens, squash and weightlifting events. The remaining tickets are priced from £15.
There is also “high availability” for the remaining £200 and £120 tickets for the closing ceremony at Hampden Park on 3 August. Organisers said last month that 16 per cent of tickets for the event were still available.
They received 2.3 million applications for the one million tickets available for the Games.
A spokeswoman for Glasgow 2014 would say only that fewer than 25 per cent of opening ceremony tickets now remained.
She said: “Glasgow 2014 decided to offer a two-week Christmas promotion on the premium-price opening ceremony tickets as a unique special gift idea for friends and family.
“We are delighted with the sales so far for the opening ceremony and, as this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, we believe this is an ideal Christmas present.”
“As an additional thank-you to shoppers, they will also be eligible for a 20 per cent discount in the Glasgow 2014 online shop.”