This week sees the deadline for applications to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, officially known as the Games of the XXX Olympiad. Which makes it sound like it’s an event featuring explicit sex and violence. It would probably be even more popular if these were actually featured. Although, as there are horses participating in some events, maybe that’s not such an enticing thought.
Some 6 million tickets are available which gives us a great opportunity to take in some guaranteed top-level sporting action. As long as you’re not too fussed about which events you want to see and which teams you want to watch. Of course some events will be oversubscribed, so there will be a lottery to decide who gets the tickets. How very fair.
Hopefully you don’t mind paying for all of the tickets in advance, before you know if you have been successful in your application? Oh yes, you may choose to increase your chances of getting those top tickets by applying for several events, but be prepared for the cost of your entire selection to drop out of your account in the next few weeks if you are ‘successful’. Although you probably didn’t want all of the tickets that you applied for. But that scenario could happen. We will know the results of the application in two months. Two months?! Surely it could be decided by an automated system in minutes?
And one more thing, it is not possible to choose the seats that you would like or even the block of seats. So even if you pay for higher prices seats, you could still be watching from a less than appealing position. There is no way of knowing.
Add to this the insistence of VISA payments only and it’s hardly surprising that there has been criticism of the whole process by Which? magazine. What irks me the most, is the fact that we have to apply for tickets for the team events before the pools have been drawn and the fixtures decided. It kinda makes it tough to know whether I’ve applied for tickets for the one-off GB under 23 football team’s matches or whether I will end up watching the young lads from Mongolia battling it out with Luxembourg’s finest whipper snappers. Well, you never know, they could be the ones to watch. Or not.
What I also find bizarre, is that the cheapest tickets are £20, even for the minority sports. Archery is at Lord’s cricket ground. It has a 28,000 capacity for crying out loud. They could only realistically expect a decent crowd if Robin Hood himself was competing. If tickets were £5 they would probably get a respectable attendance.
And don’t get me started on dressage – why is that even in the Olympics? Don’t get me wrong, I know it takes skill but if you buy tickets to watch that, then you seriously need to have a word with yourself. You’ve paid to see horses dance. If horse events are allowed in the Olympics, then why not have camel events? Camel dressage... I think they would have natural rhythm.
Despite my criticism, I do understand why the ticket allocation has been organised in such a way. After low attendances at some events at previous Olympics, the 2012 powers-that-be have ensured that even the most unattractive events will have at least reasonable ticket sales, as people apply for more tickets than would do if they could guarantee the tickets, simply because they are not sure what they will get. They don’t have a choice.
Unfair and unreasonable it may be, but the organisers don’t seem overly concerned about treating Joe Public justly. It’s just politics. They will be judged on a successful Games, and ‘high ticket sales’ is a headline grabber. Such a cold and calculating manipulation of sports fans will ensure the highest income possible as they seek to recoup some of the vast overspend of the 2012 budget.