Newly released track tickets sell out as LOCOG gets handle on seating
August 3, 2012 09:24 AM
Organizers said the sales effort was the latest indication that they had gotten control of the empty-seat issue that flared up during the first weekend of the Games.
Since it began assessing accredited seating sections on Tuesday, London Olympic Committee Organizers has trimmed the percentage of empty seats from 40 percent on Tuesday to 29 percent on Thursday. It expects that number to fall further as athletes finish competition this weekend and begin attending events in accredited sections.
“We got our hands around this,” said Jackie Brock-Doyle, LOCOG’s spokeswoman. “We saw the problems over the weekend, developed a plan Monday and we’ve had fewer empty seats every day since.”
The first few days of the Games were marred by criticism of empty seats at venues. Initially, sponsors were blamed, but the tickets were actually in an accredited section reserved for broadcasters, media, international sports federations, National Olympic committees and other officials.
The empty seats quickly became a flash point because many Britons have struggled to get tickets for the Games.
Brock-Doyle said LOCOG anticipated that it could be a problem and trimmed the amount of accredited seats by 15 percent from the Beijing Games. When some of those seats went unfilled the first two days of competition, LOCOG began evaluating venues, pulling some unused accredited seats and putting them on the market.
Since Tuesday, it’s sold more than 20,000 seats across an array of venues. A fifth of the accredited seats were vacant Thursday, but LOCOG expects that percentage to decrease more next week.
Friday and Saturday are supposed to be the busiest day on the Olympic Park. Track and field began today, bringing more than 60,000 additional spectators into the park.
The city advised people using the Jubilee and District lines to get off a stop earlier and walk 15 minutes to Olympic Park. The Javelin, a direct train from St. Pancras to Stratford, had lines outside the station for the first time all week.
A signal issue meant that the Central line was shut down for a period Friday morning, but generally things ran smoothly. Security coming into the Olympic Park Friday morning took less than 10 minutes for spectators.
LOCOG had 341,000 spectators attend Olympic events on Thursday. Some 135,000 people came to Olympic Park.