SBD/August 1, 2012/Olympics

British Officials Call For IOC To Invest In Centralized Ticket System For '16 Games

LOCOG on Monday released an additional 3,800 tickets for seats across 15 sports
Members of the British Olympic Association have called on the IOC to “invest in a centralised ticketing system in time for the Rio 2016 Games to avoid the ugly sight of empty seats at supposedly sold-out events,” according to Ashling O’Connor of the LONDON TIMES. LOCOG on Monday night “released a further 3,800 seats across 15 sports after accredited allocations were handed back.” The move is a “reaction to the public outrage, which LOCOG is doing its best to appease, and not an acknowledgement that the way tickets are distributed to the ‘Olympic family’ -- international federations, IOC members, athletes and their team officials, sponsors and the media is archaic.” BOA Chair Colin Moynihan said, “It’s a major ask for any organising committee to invest hundreds of millions of pounds in a ticketing system from a clean sheet of paper. The IOC has to take the lead to make sure the investment is in place for a state-of-the-art Olympic system that can be rolled from Games to Games. It’s so important to the sporting public of the host city and the host country to get it right.” O’Connor notes attendance figures for the first three days of the Games “showed that the Olympic venue capacity was 86 per cent, 92 per cent and 88 per cent respectively.” On Sunday, 856,000 people attended events, “including an estimated 500,000 along the men’s road race route.” An estimated 300,000 people watched the women's road race, “bringing the total number of spectators to 900,000.” About 370,000 people attended events on Monday (LONDON TIMES, 8/1). The IOC “would not comment specifically on the possibility of establishing a centralised ticketing system that is adapted for each games, but said that its auditors would ‘look at all the options’” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/31).

FILLING SEATS: In London, Jacquelin Magnay notes LOCOG CEO Paul Deighton today made a “rare appearance at the main press conference of the day.” He said that it is “extraordinary how the venues are working and the spectators are enjoying a fantastic Games experience.” There are “still 75,000 non football tickets available and 200,000 football tickets available.” Deighton said that LOCOG “sold 56,000 tickets yesterday, including 9,000 from reallocated tickets from accredited areas” (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 8/1). The TELEGRAPH’s Richard Alleyne writes around 60,000 Olympic seats a day -- "more than one in 10 sold -- have been left empty.” LOCOG officials have “disclosed that on the first day of competition, up to 14 per cent of those who obtained tickets. ... did not turn up.” On subsequent days, the “stay-aways amounted to 58,000 and 50,000 -- making the average no-show figure to be nearly 60,000” (London TELEGRAPH, 8/1). In Boston, Shira Springer notes an “informal survey of a handful of venues Tuesday seemed to indicate an improving seat situation.” The Lithuania-Nigeria men's basketball game “drew a large, spirited crowd.” There were “unoccupied seats here and there at field hockey, but nothing glaring” (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/1). In London, John Simpson notes women’s soccer “hit new heights at Wembley Stadium last night, where a crowd of more than 70,000” watched Great Britain take on Brazil (LONDON TIMES, 8/1).
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