Commonwealth Games organisers: Huge appetite for Birmingham 2022

Organisers of Birmingham 2022 say it is on course to be the best attended Commonwealth Games staged in the UK.

The Games officially get under way on Thursday night with the opening ceremony at the Alexander Stadium, and the local organising committee's chief executive Ian Reid said on Thursday morning that 1.3 million tickets had been sold so far.

Sources close to the Games have told the Press Association there are concerns around slow uptake for certain non-medal sessions, particularly boxing at the NEC and rugby sevens at the Coventry Building Society Arena.

There was even limited availability on tickets for medal sessions as of Thursday morning, and Saturday's rail strike has also raised fears that some people with tickets may not now be able to make it.

However, Reid has been impressed with what he has seen so far.

"We're on track as we sit here today to be the largest Commonwealth Games in the UK, certainly in terms of ticket sales," he said.

"We've just recently overtaken the last edition (on the Gold Coast) and I believe this morning's report put us pretty close to 1.3 million tickets sold and in the next couple of days we should have overtaken Glasgow (2014)'s ticket sales as well.

"There's definitely a huge appetite in the city. We have one of the largest sports programmes, so not every session is sold out, but history would tell us that there will be a huge uptake in tickets during the event itself both online and through multiple box offices.

"So we are very much hoping we will be at capacity or near capacity for the majority of sports."

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Asked whether organisers had seen any impact on ticket sales first through the Covid-19 pandemic and more recently the cost of living crisis, Reid said: "I think we were particularly nervous when we first went on sale a year ago just around the fact we were going with our first ballot during the pandemic.

"We were nervous (whether) people would commit to coming to the Games a year or so away and effectively pay up front to do that. After day one, all of those nerves diminished that's for sure, because we had a record uptake during that ballot.

"We have had a very limited number of tickets put up for resale despite the rail strike and the cost of living crisis.

"We haven't seen any material dent in those sales. When you talk about the relevance of the Commonwealth Games, the numbers suggest there is still a huge number of people both in the UK and internationally who want to come and watch."

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