A SURGE of demand for nearly one million tickets for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games led to delays yesterday on the event’s official website.
Visitors to glasgow2014.com faced waits of up to one hour to apply for their chosen events as organisers estimated “tens of thousands” of people logged on in anticipation of the first day of tickets going on sale.
However, there was no repeat of the fiasco at London 2012, where the huge demand caused the site to crash.
Ty Speer, the Glasgow 2014 deputy chief executive, said the flurry of applications was testament to the “excitement” felt by people for next year’s sporting spectacle, adding that visitors to the website would “smooth out” in the coming days.
He explained: “We’ve built a system to deal with what we think will be pretty high demand. We know the first day is going to be very busy – day one is always really busy.
“We believe the system is very, very strong. We’ve kept it as simple as it could be, minimising complexity everywhere we can. We’re pretty confident it’s going to get the job done.”
Although the ticket application site went live yesterday, entries will continue to be accepted until 16 September, a strategy designed to prevent a sudden torrent of interest from spectators over a short period of time.
Ticket sales are expected to meet a significant proportion of the organisers’ target of generating £100 million in private sector revenue. However, Mr Speer revealed they have not budgeted on the basis of the entire event selling out.
He said: “I think we have a very solid business case. It does not require us selling every ticket. When we begin to over-achieve, that’s a bonus, but we’ve been quite careful in our planning so if for whatever reason we don’t sell every ticket, we’ll still be able to pay our way.”
Organisers have been keen to promote the Games as affordable, ensuring events have an entry price of £15 for adults, with discounts for under-16s and over-60s. Two-thirds of all tickets are £25 or less.
Spectators hoping to see a premier event such as the 100m final at Hampden on 28 July, which could feature Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, could pay up to £90 for a prime viewing spot.
Councillor Gordon Mathieson, leader of Glasgow City Council, said the idea of providing free tickets for people from Glasgow had been “considered”, but emphasised the prices were “very fair and very accessible”.
The launch of the ticket sales took place at Tollcross International Swimming Centre. Michael Jamieson, the Olympic silver medallist, dived into the pool as the clock struck 10am and the website went live.
Mr Jamieson, who trained at Tollcross from the age of 12, said: “To have a packed venue full of support, with everyone urging you home in the race, that can be the difference between turning finalists into medallists and bronze and silvers into gold.”
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “This is the biggest milestone yet in the countdown to the Games.”