LOCOG Removes 500,000 Football Tickets From 'Saturated' Market
Olympics organizers have withdrawn 500,000 football tickets from public sale as they "admitted the market was saturated," according to Ashling O'Connor of the LONDON TIMES. The top tiers of bigger venues "will be curtained off to hide the empty seats." That includes Millennium Stadium, which hosts the opening game featuring the Great Britain women’s team. About 37,000 of the 80,000 tickets have been sold. A further 150,000 tickets "are to be given away to school children through a sponsor-backed scheme." LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe played down "disappointment at the number of football tickets that organisers had failed to sell." Coe said, "It’s always a challenge. You’ve got lots of venues and lots of matches and you don’t know until late on who is going to be playing" (LONDON TIMES, 7/17). In London, Jacquelin Magnay reported that organisers have wanted to have the Olympic venues "full to capacity to ensure a passionate crowd atmosphere and a vibrant backdrop" for the global television audience. LOCOG now has just under a million Olympic tickets in total still to sell: 650,000 football tickets and 300,000 tickets to non-football events, including the ceremonies. The decision to withdraw the excess football tickets, most of which were on sale for £20 ($31), "will cost organisers lost revenue" of about £10M ($15.6M) but the "appetite for free football tickets" to schoolchildren also appears to have "reached full capacity" (TELEGRAPH, 7/17).