Olympics Fans Snap Up Ticket Order Forms
ATLANTA (AP) _ Olympic organizers said they were pleased to see fans snapping up ticket order forms, but cautioned the true test will be how many people follow through and mail orders in.
Brochures containing the mail-order forms were distributed Monday across most of the country, officially starting the race for millions of tickets to the 1996 Summer Games.
Demand was reported strong, especially in Atlanta, where hundreds of people lined up before dawn to be among the first to receive the booklets.
``So far, it’s great. I think we’re seeing there is demand out there,″ said Scott Anderson, chief ticket official with the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.
Anderson said ACOG had not set a goal for first-day distribution of the booklets.
``It’s less of an indication than the flow of the orders,″ he said. ``The central thing is how many ... fill them out.″
ACOG is expecting 500,000 orders in the first 60 days of the mail order. That’s the period in which orders will be placed in a pool, from which requests for high-demand events will be randomly picked.
Atlanta Olympic officials have refused to disclose how many tickets are available to prime events such as the opening ceremonies and basketball and gymnastics finals. Many of these seats presumably went to corporate sponsors and other VIPs who could buy tickets before the general public.
Overall, ACOG has an inventory of about 11 million tickets. Tickets are available now only via mail order. Telephone and box office sales will begin in 1996.
In the Atlanta area, brochures were methodically released to the public at 6 a.m. Elsewhere across the country, the release was more sporadic and the booklets were not available in some areas, though officials earlier had said 36 million would be distributed nationwide on Monday.
Brochures are being distributed by retailers that sell Coca-Cola and in Home Depot stores.
Rosemary Zirille of Mishawaka, Ind., near South Bend, said she visited or called several stores listed as distribution points before finding one that actually had the booklets.
``Most places I checked into had no clue. They hadn’t heard of it,″ she said.
Spot checks across the country by The Associated Press Monday revealed that some stores listed as distribution points in California, Oregon, Indiana, Kentucky and North Carolina did not have the brochures available.
``There is a program planned but the information won’t be available in Lucky stores until May 15,″ said Judy Decker, spokeswoman for the Lucky store chain in Southern California.
Mark Preisinger, a spokesman for The Coca-Cola Co. in Atlanta, said there were a few areas that were not yet distributing the brochures but they were ``few and far between.″
``In general, May 1 is the date the brochures are available nationwide,″ he said. ``There will be cases, like with any promotion _ and this one is on a grand scale _ where the retailer and the bottler are going to decide they’re not available for a week.″
In Louisville, Ky., for example, Coca-Cola is running a major promotion tied to Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. Stores there won’t put up the Olympic displays until that program is completed, Preisinger said.
For those who could get the brochures, however, Monday was the real start of the 1996 Olympics. Now the waiting begins _ ticket orders won’t be confirmed until September.