07/14/2015 13:54 EDT | Updated 07/14/2016 01:12 EDT

Pan Am Games ticket sales cross 900,000 mark, organizers expect to hit million

TORONTO — Organizers for the Pan Am Games say more than 900,000 tickets have now been sold for the multi-sport event taking place in Toronto and surrounding communities.

Ticket sales had initially been somewhat of a concern as only about 800,000 of 1.4 million tickets had been sold before the Games officially began last Friday.

But as the event entered its first full week, organizers said nearly 25,000 tickets were sold on Monday — a record-breaking figure for a single day of sales.

Ticket sales are expected to cover about $40 million of the Games' $2.5 billion budget, with the rest coming from the federal, provincial and local governments.

Saad Rafi, CEO of the TO2015 organizing committee, says organizers fully expect to sell at least a million tickets before the Games are done.

He says walk-up sales — where spectators purchase their tickets at kiosks rather than online — have been significant since the Games began.

"People are clearly getting out for the Games and there are lots of great ways to make your own Pan Am memories," Rafi said "The next major milestone of course to reach is a million tickets and we're confident we'll get there."

Steady ticket sales are anticipated over the rest of the week as competitions in popular sports like basketball, soccer, baseball and athletics get underway, Rafi said, noting that crowds at events so far have been very supportive of all athletes.

"They're singing anthems loud and proud and they're showing up in droves and there are flags of every colour imaginable," he said. "They clearly want to see top athletes in pursuit for a medal."

Rafi also encouraged spectators to buy their tickets through official Pan Am portals, rather than from online resellers, to ensure they were getting the best value for their money.

The Games, the largest international multi-sport event ever held in Canada, run until July 26.


Diana Mehta, The Canadian Press