Attendance at the Athens Olympics has been disappointing during the first two days but organizers said on Sunday they hope ticket sales will pick up
After falling short on a promise to sell about 65 percent of the total 5.2 million tickets bythe Games opening, organizers said sales would rise as
the Olympics become more exciting.
"Yes, attendance was not very high with less popular sports," spokesman Michael Zaharatos told reporters. "We never hid the fact that less popular
sports and preliminary rounds would not be a full house."
Track and field, by far the Games' most popular event, has yet to start, while most of Greece's medal hopefuls compete next week.
The 2000 Sydney Games, with almost double the total tickets available, were held mostly in front of capacity crowds.
On Saturday, only a sparse crowd saw Turkish weightlifter Nurcan Taylan claim her historic gold at the 5,000-seat Nikea weightlifting stadium, while
former world No. 1 Venus Williams won her first round match in front of only a handful of die-hard fans in the new tennis arena.
The International Olympic Committee, concerned the Games' image could be tarnished if competitions are held in front of half-empty stands, raised the
issue with organizers on Sunday.
"It (tickets issue) was briefly raised in this morning's meeting," IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said. "The next few days we will see how ticket
sales go up."
Total sales so far are about 2.9 million, mainly due to a sharp rise in daily sales -- about 90,000 -- over the past two weeks.
But organizers, who have insisted they have all but met their target revenue of 183 million euro ($224.3 million), still have 2.5 million unsold
While swimming events and some soccer matches have attracted large crowds, other sports including softball and weightlifting, have recorded
disappointing attendance figures.
The beach volleyball stadium with a capacity of about 10,000 was largely empty all day Saturday until the Greece match, when it almost filled up.