Just four days before the opening ceremony of the 12th Paralympic Games in the Greek capital, organizers admitted on September 13 that ticket sales for the Games stand at 200,000 - just 50 percent of their target figure.
Of those sold, 50,000 have been purchased by the Greek Ministry of Education to be distributed free to local schools while many of the remainder are for the opening ceremony, which is a 72,000 sell-out, meaning that fewer than 80,000 tickets have been sold for the actual sporting events.
During the Sydney Games four years ago, many events registered capacity audiences totaling more than 1.1 million spectators.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) hopes that ticket sales will surge in the last days, similar to the summer Olympic Games last month here. But organizing committee officials admitted if sales do not improve they may have to rethink their ticketing policy.
Local reports said that one option would be to waive entrance frees for spectators. In Sydney, the Paralympics came of age as a spectator attraction, thanks in part to the organizers' decision to sell inexpensive day passes for general admission to all events. Athens organizers have followed the suit, although the policy restricts the total number of tickets that can be sold.
ATHOC managing director Ioannis Spanudakis remains confident the Greek public will show their Olympic spirit by turning up in big numbers.
"We're selling about 15,000 to 20,000 a day at the moment, which is a good figure", he said. "Our target for the Games is 400,000 and I am confident we can exceed that number".