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SBD Global/August 7, 2012/Olympics

Some IOC Members Lose Seats Because Of Sensitivity About Empty Seats

Some IOC members were “prevented from attending" the first two nights of track and field action because of "sensitivity about the empty seats in accredited areas,” according to Jacquelin Magnay of the London TELEGRAPH. IOC Olympic Games Exec Dir Gilbert Felli said that it had “relinquished some space so that it could be redistributed to the public, yet the VIP seating area still had scores of empty seats.” LOCOG said that the accredited seating areas “across all venues on Saturday were 98 per cent full, while overall there were 719,000 spectators representing 92 per cent of all tickets sold.” LOCOG CEO Paul Deighton said that some empty seats in the stadium “were ‘seat kills’ because of poor visibility or are designated photographer spots.” He said that the sponsors were “filling all of their seats” (TELEGRAPH, 8/6).
THE FINAL SWIM: YAHOO SPORTS’ Martin Rogers noted tickets for the men’s 4x100m medley relay, the final race in Michael Phelps' Olympic career, were the "hottest seat" of the Games so far and Saturday were “changing hands on the black market for the incredible price of nearly $10,000.” One ticket scalper said, "It is all because of Phelps. We have even started quoting prices in American dollars because all the people interested are Americans who want to see him one more time." The only available tickets prior to Saturday’s race were “mainly for the highest-priced level, hence the drastically inflated asking price from scalpers.” When the tickets were released, the top ticket “sold for $704, with other levels at $461, $289, $149 and $78.” Another ticket scalper said, "Normally, I make my money by paying face value for tickets from people who don't want them anymore. This is a unique event. I am paying way, way above face” (, 8/4).

TECH SAVVY: The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Speri, Orwall & Bryan-Low noted fan Adam Naisbitt “ended up becoming a martyr for one of this city's most aggrieved demographics: the thousands who've been unable to buy tickets for the Games.” But “unlike most, Naisbitt, a tech entreprener, had the know-how to come up with a plan.” He designed a program “to automatically send his girlfriend a text when gymnastics tickets became available on the official website.” It worked “so well that he decided to share his services with the public and developed a ‘spider,’ a device that monitors the site for ticket updates every three minutes, notifying Twitter followers when they become available.” Naisbitt's Twitter handle, @2012TicketAlert, “soon had more than 7,500 followers -- all of whom were getting a time advantage in the race for tickets.” But his spider handle on Thursday “was blocked and stopped working.” Official LOCOG ticketing partner Ticketmaster Friday said that Naisbitt has “been blocked, but stressed that he wasn't targeted.” The company said that it was a "consequence of its continuing efforts to track unusual activity from individual Internet addresses” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/4). In London, Victoria Ward noted when Ticketmaster established Naisbitt’s handle “was legitimate, it was immediately reinstalled.” The Twitter alert now has over 24,000 followers (TELEGRAPH, 8/6).
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