Fear Of U.K. Bribery Rules Leaves Companies Shunning London Games Hospitality Packages
With less than three weeks before the start of the London Games, “official hospitality packages are still on sale,” possibly because of “fears new bribery rules introduced in the U.K. last year could have put many British companies off of buying these tickets,” according to Bloomberg TV’s Matt Miller. Bloomberg TV’s Louis Beale said the company behind the hospitality venue at the Games “say they’ll offer world-class food and drink and the best category Olympic seats.” Beale: “But many British businesses aren’t interested, fearing they’ll fall foul of the U.K.’s new anti-bribery laws if they buy tickets.” Beale said “experts” state the new guidelines “aren’t ambiguous and that the bribery act isn’t designed to curb corporate hospitality.” Ernst & Young Partner Jonathan Middup said the new guidelines are targeting "paying bribes” and using “kickbacks to influence the awarding of contracts" (“Bloomberg Bottom Line,” Bloomberg TV, 7/6).
INTERNAL SALES: In London, Jacquelin Magnay reports Olympic tickets, including “thousands for main events such as the opening ceremony, swimming finals and gymnastics, are instead being distributed on an internal sales system to sponsors.” The move will “anger hundreds of thousands of people who have been unable to get tickets for the best events.” The market for tickets that national Olympic committees “failed to sell opened 12 days ago, giving Olympic officials and sponsors the opportunity to buy extra tickets for themselves and offload those they no longer want.” The London Telegraph was “given access to the system yesterday and had the opportunity to buy tickets for one of the boxing finals and a swimming final, both of which are sold out for the public.” A LOCOG spokesperson “confirmed the existence of the internal ticketing system," and said that previous Games "had taken the same approach.” The spokesperson said that a total of 75% of “all tickets for London 2012 would be available to the British public” (London TELEGRAPH, 7/10).
WEATHER FORECAST: Also in London, Paul Kelso notes with “long spells of rain” being predicted for the opening week of the Olympics, the “lack of cover on most of London’s outdoor venues, including the main stadium, is likely to leave spectators bedraggled.” Around 40% of the seats in Olympic Stadium are “uncovered, including all of those closest to the track that are among the most expensive.” A LOCOG spokesperson said, “Our message to spectators is to check the weather forecast and dress accordingly.” Meanwhile, the London Legacy Corporation yesterday confirmed that Newham Council is “to inject [US$62M] into the stadium, for which it will get a range of ‘community benefits’ including access to the stadium and warm-up track for community events” (London TELEGRAPH, 7/10).