Organisers say that Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018 needs to sell at least 1.2 million tickets to meet budget requirements.

As the ticket request phase began earlier today (Monday), Games organising committee boss Peter Beattie said keeping ticket prices as low as A$20 (€14/£12/$15) was a gamble and meant sell-outs for most events were a necessity.

“We had a choice, we could have gouged people and charged a lot more,” Beattie said, according to Yahoo news website. “The real risk for the Games is if we don’t sell 1.2 million tickets, then we do have an issue in terms of the budget.”

The Commonwealth Games begins on April 4, 2018 and with more people wanting to attend events than seats available, a random ballot is being used.

Controversy over whether public transport will be able to cope with moving 1.2 million spectators to and from venues has dogged the launch of the request phase.

Beattie said that all tickets will come with free public transport to and from the event. In a response to Commonwealth Games Federation vice-president Bruce Robertson’s comment in a leaked letter that there was “no viable solution” in place for transport, Beattie said: “The Games are on target, they are on budget, and they have a transport plan that will work.”

Ticketek owner TEG earlier this month urged the Australian public to get behind the 2018 Commonwealth Games as it began the “mammoth undertaking” of ticketing an event expected to attract 1.5m spectators.

Ticketek could sell around 1.2m tickets for more than 270 separate sessions over the 11 games of competition. The Games programme of 18 sports and seven para-sports will be broadcast to a cumulative global audience of 1.5 billion.

Ticketek is the biggest sports ticketing operator in Australia and New Zealand and sells more than 23 million tickets to over 20,000 events every year.

Ticket requests for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games are open for four weeks until midnight on May 22.