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SBD Global/August 2, 2012/Olympics

Listings Website Craigslist Becomes Marketplace For Olympic Tickets

Listings website Craigslist "appears to have become the marketplace of choice for sports fans desperate to get their hands on Olympic tickets" for the London Games, according to Alexandra Topping of the London GUARDIAN. However, LOCOG warned the public that "tickets on some listings websites could be fake and leave them empty-handed." LOCOG urged people wanting to buy tickets, or offload unwanted tickets, to use the official website. The organizers have released 75,000 extra tickets, including some for athletes, with more expected to follow. They are mostly "contingency" tickets -- that have become available after logistics such as camera positions have been worked out. A LOCOG spokesperson said, "A number of sites offering to buy and sell tickets have already turned out to be fraudulent. This kind of buying and selling is frowned upon, because these sites cannot be controlled by LOCOG, the offers cannot be verified and that is a major concern" (GUARDIAN, 8/1). The London EVENING STANDARD reported that "thousands of coveted Olympic athletics tickets are to be released at the last minute." LOCOG CEO Paul Deighton said that "tickets have been held back until now so that organizers could ensure that the views from the seats were not restricted." Deighton suggested that "between 1% and 2% of tickets have been held back." If 2% of the Olympic Stadium's 80,000 seats are yet to go on sale, as many as 1,600 tickets could be up for grabs (EVENING STANDARD, 8/1).

EMPTY SEATS: Also in London, Richard Alleyne wrote organizers at LOCOG have disclosed that "on the first day of competition," up to 14% of those who obtained tickets -- about 67,000 -- 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 (TELEGRAPH, 8/1). The London DAILY MAIL's Louise Eccles reported that "many of the stay-aways are VIPs who were given their tickets by sponsors" -- including for sold-out events such as swimming and gymnastics finals -- "but couldn't be bothered to use them." Labour MP for Barking in East London Margaret Hodge said, "This many unused tickets is shocking. If organisations are not going to use their tickets they should think about the people to whom it would mean an awful lot, and give them back and not be selfish." Labour MP and Member of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee Tom Watson said, "This is a sporting tragedy. There are a lot of parents who have missed the once in a lifetime dream of taking their kids to the Olympics" (DAILY MAIL, 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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