Those British Olympic fans who lost out in the first, problematic round of 2012 Olympic ticket sales have now learned when they can try again.
In recent days, the London Olympic Organizing Committee (LOCOG) announced details of a second round of Olympics ticket sales open to the British public (and designated European countries), with only those 1.2 million who were denied tickets in the first go round invited to apply. Online applications for this round will open at 6 AM British Summer Time (BST) on June 24 and end at 6 PM BST on July 3. This time, tickets will be sold on a first come, first served basis, allowing applicants to find out within 24 to 48 hours if their request has been successful. LOCOG will debit the bank accounts of successful applicants at the closing of applications, with payment confirmation arriving by July 8.
While this means that LOCOG is shutting out those 700,000 fans who received some or all of their ticket requests in the first round, they also will be able to scoop up more in a subsequent round of sales. From 6 AM BST on July 8 until 6 PM July 17, members of this group will have their chance to go for more tickets for the London Games, again on a first come, first served basis. Accounts will be debited following the closing of applications, and payment confirmation comes by July 22.
Applicants in these rounds may request tickets for up to three sessions. The ticket limit per session will be six for all events football, athletics — race walk and volleyball, which will offer higher limits.
Meanwhile, those who were successful in the first round are finally learning this week which tickets they actually bought, nearly two months after they made their requests and weeks after the money left their bank accounts. A reported 3 million tickets went in the first round, including all those available for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well as 21 sports, including the athletics finals.
The first round of Olympic ticket sales was plagued with a variety of troubles, including the site’s initial denial of valid credit cards, complaints regarding pricey tickets, and even the Olympic Countdown Clock in London’s Trafalgar Square stalling hours after installation. When over half of the first round applicants came up empty-handed, Olympics chairman Lord Sebastian Coe and chief executive Paul Deighton were forced to make the media rounds in an attempt to calm nerves.
BBC News this week had Coe commenting on the process and fan frustration: “It has been a massive demand which has created huge disappointment. I would be hard pushed to see such a demand for any sports event in my lifetime. Our commitment is to get two-thirds of those 1.9 million people to buy a ticket for the 2012 Games if they want to.”
There are roughly 2.3 million tickets for sale in the coming rounds, many more than the estimated 100,000 which Coe had announced to the BBC earlier this month. However, about 1.7 million of these tickets are for the large stadium soccer events, leaving 600,000 for the remaining sports. Discount pricing for under 18’s and seniors is still available in the next allotment of tickets, and 1.5 million of these tickets will sell for £50 ($80) and under.
However, it looks like some of the pricier tickets remain up for sale, with the lowest priced available ticket for athletics morning sessions going for £150-£450 ($241-$723), and the Men’s 4 X 100 relay finals selling for £725 ($1,166).
And questions have arisen regarding the fairness of LOCOG’s ticket distribution system. UK’s Guardian newspaper reports that, for the Men’s 100m final, where Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt is expected to defend his 2008 gold medal, only 30,000 of the 80,000 available seats will be made available to British fans, with the rest being distributed to sponsors, international federations, media and the IOC. So far, 21,000 have gone to the British public, with the remaining 9,000 to be sold in several months.
LOCOG chief executive Paul Deighton responded to these types of complaints by insisting the majority of Olympics tickets have gone to the masses, as opposed to a few corporate or international interests. He added that roughly 1 million more tickets will be made available beginning in December, as venues are built and seating confirmed, and as sponsors return tickets they cannot use. LOCOG’s authorized resale website for unwanted tickets will provide another source of tickets, but, like the extra 1 million announced by Deighton, this site will not be available until next year.