London 2012 puts thousands of tickets back on sale in a bid to solve empty seat fiasco
Monday, 30 July 2012
July 30 - London 2012 has started to put thousands of tickets back on sale for the Olympics in an emergency bid to fill the empty seats at venues across the Games.
In the lead-up to the Olympics, London 2012 claimed there would be no empty seats at the venues as they were overwhelmed with ticket requests but the sight of whole sections of gaps in the stands has angered the thousands of fans who missed out on tickets.
The non-attendance of accredited "Games Family" – including sports officials and media – has largely been blamed for the empty seats but London 2012 have said that international federations have started giving tickets back to sell to the public.
"We talked to the international federations yesterday," said the London 2012 director of communications and public affairs Jackie Brock-Doyle at a press conference here.
"We were able to put back into the pot for sale around 3,000 tickets last night; they have all been sold.
"That includes about 600 for the gymnastics event today and we are going to do that on a day to day basis.
"The other side of it is obviously in basketball, when the Dream Team [the USA basketball team] played yesterday, there wasn't a spare seat in the house.
"So we are doing this session by session, talking to the accredited groups including broadcast media, and asking whether we can release for the different sessions tickets back into the public pot.
"Where we can, we are going to release those the night before and put them up for sale.
"The accredited seating for these Games is down 15 per cent on previous Games, so there already has been a reduction in accredited seating for London 2012."
Brock-Doyle also defended criticism that London 2012 should have addressed the issue at an earlier stage.
"I think we are trying everything we can to make sure those accredited seats are filled where we can," she said.
"There are operational issues that make it difficult to fill some of those seats which is why we are putting and making them available to the troops and to the teachers and children.
"We had a plan in place for the teachers and the children over a year ago that we have been deploying.
"There are 150 children and teachers who are on the Park today.
"That is only for the Park.
"We will increase that to about 300 or 400 tomorrow and we will keep going on that.
"We really are doing the best we can but it is not an exact science, as we saw with swimming last night and with basketball and the American match yesterday.
"We are working within the numbers that each of the accredited areas look at.
"We have done a lot already.
"At a lot of venues, we have taken, for preliminary rounds, away all of the non-tabled seats and sold those out.
"So we have done an awful lot already in the lead up."
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) director of communications Mark Adams said the organisation is looking to help.
"From the IOC's point of view we are doing a number of things," he said.
"From that you will understand that clearly we are giving up those seats in those accredited areas on a case-by-case basis.
"At the USA basketball game there were 200 or 300 people who could not get into the accredited area because it was completely packed.
"So it is horses for courses."
July 2012: Venues are "stuffed to the gunnels", insists Coe after London 2012 empty seats embarrassment