SBD/July 18, 2012/Olympics

LOCOG Officials Remove 500,000 Soccer Tickets, Hope To Ensure Full Stadiums

LOCOG expected that selling out soccer tickets would be their "biggest challenge"
LOCOG officials have “admitted defeat in their drive to sell out all their venues, reducing the capacity" of soccer stadiums around the country by 500,000 and "launching a campaign to sell more than 800,000 remaining tickets across all sports,” according to Owen Gibson of the GUARDIAN. All stadiums outside London “will be affected, with areas of seats cordoned off for some matches.” All stadiums “apart from Wembley will be affected.” Organizers always expected that selling out the soccer tickets “would be their biggest challenge but the move to reduce capacities may revive criticism about the size of the stadiums chosen and the pricing.” There are 50,000 “non-football tickets on sale and a further 250,000 will soon be back on the market due to overseas returns and contingency tickets made available once venue plans are finalised.” They include tickets for the “opening and closing ceremonies, beach volleyball and volleyball.” LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe confirmed that LOCOG also had “abandoned plans to operate public box offices to sell the remaining tickets.” Instead, spectators will be “advised to buy online and pick up their tickets from a booth in Westfield shopping centre.” Meanwhile, Coe said that 733 athletes from 96 countries "had checked into the Olympic Village on its opening day and many had praised the facilities.” He said, "But for a missed turning and a couple of tweets, we're in pretty good shape” (GUARDIAN, 7/18). The FINANCIAL TIMES’ Vanessa Kortekaas notes there were "originally" 2.5 million soccer tickets available. LOCOG has sold “just over half the football tickets, and is still hoping to sell 450,000 in the coming days” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/18).

GLASS HALF FULL: In London, Robin Scott-Elliot reports organizers have admitted that there “will be swathes of empty seats at many matches outside London, with Cardiff and Glasgow proving particularly hard to sell.” But aside from soccer, “sales are impressive” (London INDEPENDENT, 7/18). Coe said, "We’ve sold more football tickets than we’ve sold for anything else. We’re not in bad shape on tickets. It was always going to be that football tickets were the challenge but I think we’ll do pretty well” (INDEPENDENT.co.uk, 7/17). LOCOG officials said that they are “still on track to reach their ticket revenue target" of US$936M by next Friday's Opening Ceremony. In London, Jacquelin Magnay reports the excess soccer tickets, “most of which" were on sale for US$31, will "cost organizers lost revenue" of about US$15.6M (London TELEGRAPH, 7/18).
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