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SBD Global/July 25, 2012/Olympics

CoSport Apologizes For Long Ticket Lines, Says It's Getting The Problem Sorted

CoSport, the biggest overseas agency for Olympic tickets, apologized after people were "forced to queue for more than six hours" to collect their allocations, according to Peter Walker of the London GUARDIAN. But the company said that "it could do nothing to help some of those whose seats are scattered around stadiums." On Tuesday, the queues "were still significant" with some buyers reporting around two hours of wait time. In a statement, CoSport, the official overseas ticketing partner of the U.S., Australia and Canada, said it apologized to those who were forced to wait and could "understand their frustration." A number of ticket buyers have complained that their CoSport-purchased seats were "distributed around venues, in some instances forcing parents to sit some distance from their children." The company issued a statement to apologize for this, but warned that this could "could not always be remedied." The statement read, "Within the allocation of tickets that we received, we strive to seat people together. Unfortunately this is not always possible, and our terms and conditions explain this" (GUARDIAN, 7/24).

AUSSIE MESS: In Sydney, Wayne Smith reported CoSport assured the Australian Olympic Committee that it will "sort out the mess." Australian Olympic team Chef de Mission Nick Green said that "it was not right that Australians who have purchased tickets were being made to wait lengthy periods to collect them." Green: "People queuing for tickets is unacceptable. We were disappointed when we heard about it." Green also added that the AOC was "looking into the matter and had been working closely with the company to ensure no Australians were disadvantaged." Finally, Green said, "They've assured us that all Australians will get their tickets" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 7/25).

PADDINGTON PICKUP
: In London, Owen Gibson reported that CoSport said that around 500 of the 14,000 tickets it had sold to U.S. purchasers "had yet to be posted, and told buyers to travel to London without them and to pick them up from the Paddington office." The USOC gave CoSport the "exclusive contract to handle distribution of tickets and hospitality packages for the London Games." The company, "owned by the controversial Seattle millionaire Sead Dizdarevic," also sponsors the USOC until '20. Reports last week indicated that CoSport "was sending out tickets to members of the public that were originally intended for Games sponsors." Resellers outside of the U.K. are "allowed to charge a 20% premium on the face value of the tickets under IOC rules, but not on tickets meant for sponsors" (GUARDIAN, 7/24).

DISSATISFIED CUSTOMERS: In London, Martyn Ziegler noted Games tickets were "at the centre of chaotic scenes on Monday as fans waited in the hot sun for up to six hours." A LOCOG spokesperson said, "They have had issues with the distribution of tickets, something has gone wrong with how they are allocated and distributed. We are aware of the problems and anyone who has been affected is advised to contact the CoSport call centre which has been set up in London." Ziegler noted, "Angry fans also posted messages on online Olympics forums criticising the agency" (TELEGRAPH, 7/24). The GLOBE & MAIL's Carys Mills noted, "No comment was immediately available from CoSport's Canadian office, which directs callers to a U.K. phone number, where the voicemail is full" (GLOBE & MAIL, 7/24).
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