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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Organizers of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver have rejected the idea of raising ticket prices, despite strong demand in both Canada and abroad, officials said on Friday.
The Vancouver Organizing Committee launches a second round of domestic ticket sales on June 6, with more than 150,000 available for competitions as well as the Games' opening and closing ceremonies.
Organizers say demand for tickets for the February 2010 events has remained strong despite the weak economy. VANOC received more than four times as many orders for tickets than were available during first round of domestic sales last year.
The high demand could have supported raising prices, which range from C$25 for some sports events to C$1,100 for the opening ceremonies, said Caley Denton, who heads VANOC's ticket sales.
"We thought about it, briefly. But the truth is we committed to the prices long ago. We wanted to make a fair and affordable program ... We want people to be able to come, have a fair experience and enjoy the Olympics," Denton said.
Tickets in the first round were distributed via a lottery, but buyers this time will face a system closer to first-come, first-serve. The tickets will be sold through VANOC's website, www.vancouver2010.com/.
VANOC also plans to sell about 20,000 tickets to the nightly medal ceremonies.
The 2010 Winter Games have a C$1.7 billion ($1.6 billion) operating budget. About C$232 million in revenue will be from ticket sales, which have become increasingly important with the recession making it difficult to sign up new corporate sponsors.
Reporting Allan Dowd, editing by Rob Wilson