The sale of tickets for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles is under way via a computerized mail order system aimed at providing equal access throughout the country. There are some 5.6 million tickets available, ranging in price from
The way the system works, brochures are available at some 3,700 outlets (Sears Roebuck stores nationally, plus First Interstate Bank branches in Southern California and Manufacturers Hanover Trust branches in Greater New York City). The brochures include an order form, a pre-addressed return envelope, schedules, prices, and a map of competition sites.
Tickets are divided into three categories: premium, semi-premium, and others. The former are the costliest, of course, but are still expected to be the hardest to get.
Orders are limited to one per household or business address, and there are also limitations on the number of tickets per order, depending upon the event.
Applications will be processed on a first-received, first-served basis - except for events that are oversubscribed by August 15, 1983. In these cases, a computerized random drawing will be held to determine ticket allocation.
Season tickets for every event in a sport also are available - and also will be subject to random selection if the demand exceeds the supply by August 15.
The opening and closing ceremonies, always emotional times for Olympic goers, are priced accordingly at $50, $100, and $200 per ticket. The basketball final, presumably between the United States and the Soviet Union, will cost $40, $60, and $95. In track and field, day passes for double sessions cost $60, $45, and $ 30. And if the gymnastics championship is your thing, be prepared to spend $40,
However, there will also be many modestly priced events, in the $3 through $8 range, for various sports with less popular appeal. In fact, more than half of the available tickets are priced at less than $10, and the average price is approximately $17.
According to the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee (LAOOC), there are approximately 8 million tickets altogether - the most in Olympic history. The 5. 6 million being sold by mail represent 70 percent, with the rest reserved for the news media, officials, sponsors, athletes and coaches, and for purchase by people living outside the United States.
In its effort to ensure fairness and equal access, the LAOOC spent four years and more than $1 million to create a system that ''employs the latest in computer technology and makes tickets accessible to the general public without the use of agents or brokers,'' according to G. Edward Smith, vice-president for ticketing.
''We're selling tickets directly to people who want to see the Games and doing the very best we can to keep those tickets out of the hands of speculators ,'' he added.