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SBD Global/August 3, 2012/Olympics

BOA Chair Concerned About Empty Seats, But LOCOG Calls Progress Successful

BOA Chair Colin Moynihan is concerned about empty seats and the effect on the athletes.
British Olympic Association Chair Colin Moynihan Thursday said that he “remained concerned about the empty seats at the London Olympics, saying it was ‘unfair’ to Britain's competing athletes,” according to Avril Ormsby of REUTERS. Moynihan said, "I don't feel any more relaxed today than I did two days ago. There's some initiatives that LOCOG have tried to take, (Culture and Sport Secretary) Jeremy Hunt is still looking into this, but it is a subject which has got to tax the minds of those who are responsible for the ticketing each and every day between now and the end of the Games." A LOCOG spokesperson responding to his comments said, "Colin should come and talk to us if he has got other ideas." The spokesperson added, "We actually think that we are moving through this quite successfully, to have 80% of the accredited seating filled yesterday, which was a very, very different situation to what it looked like on Monday" (REUTERS, 8/2).

NEW TRACK TICKETS AVAILABLE: In London, Sam Masters reported that up to 1,600 tickets for track and field events will be "put on sale at the last minute.” LOCOG CEO Paul Deighton said that tickets had been “held back until now so that views from certain seats were unrestricted.” Deighton: “You sort of hold them back to make sure all the seats work and all the views are not restricted. So as we're seeing how every venue works we are releasing the final tickets.” The news will be “welcomed by fans who have struggled to get tickets.” (INDEPENDENT, 8/2). LOCOG said that the “final conversion of the stadium after last week’s opening ceremony had opened up several spaces in which seats can now be placed” (London TELEGRAPH, 8/2).

CLOSING SHOP: REUTERS' Brenda Goh reported that Westfield Stratford City shopping mall, the gateway to London's Olympic Park, will be closed this weekend to people without tickets for the Games to try to manage the crowds. Friday and Saturday are "expected to be the Olympic Park's busiest days" when the Olympic Stadium opens up for athletic events. Transport for London said that more than 200,000 spectators and accredited workers were expected each day, making the Stratford area "exceptionally busy" (REUTERS, 8/2). In London, Owen Gibson reported that Westfield shopping mall "will only be accessible to ticket holders and accredited officials, media and athletes." The majority of spectators "have been passing through the shopping centre in order to reach their events, with many hanging around to eat and drink." But while foot traffic is believed to be "significantly up on average," it is believed that "takings among retailers are significantly down." Although spectators are "milling around in the centre, fewer are shopping." The closure of the centre to the general public is "likely to exacerbate the problem for retailers on the site" (GUARDIAN, 8/2).

UP TO STANDARD: Also in London, Charles Sale noted that the IOC considers LOCOG to be delivering the Games to such a standard "that their early morning daily meetings have been postponed until Saturday" (DAILY MAIL, 8/1).
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