This is certainly not the lead up to the Olympics that event organizers had intended.
In the hot seat this week were both London Olympic Organizing Committee (LOCOG) chair Lord Sebastian Coe and chief executive Paul Deighton, who were forced to make the media rounds in an attempt to explain why over half of those Britons who had applied for London 2012 tickets were unsuccessful.
“It’s absolutely a fair process,” Deighton told talkSPORT radio in the UK. “We looked at all the different ways to do it and a ballot is by far the fairest way to allocate [tickets].
Regarding the 55 percent of applicants who were unable to secure tickets through the process, Deighton said, “We had 1.8 million people putting in orders for about 22 million tickets and we’ve got 6 million to allocate. Some people are lucky and some people are unlucky.”
British tabloid The Daily Mail this week had Deighton suggesting that too many fans applied for the most popular sports, stating: “Other people listened carefully to the advice we gave and applied for a range of sports, and so it’s not surprising that they had better chances of getting some tickets.”
When confronted by BBC anchors about the news that many Olympics tickets went to big corporate sponsors, including embattled FIFA President Sepp Blatter, Coe replied, “A percentage of those tickets go to international federations and governing bodies. FIFA is an international federation….we are obliged to do that.”
For his part, Deighton made a distinction between the sources of each set of tickets: “We’ve always said from stage one that 25 percent, or 2.2 million, are available for the international market, for sponsors and for the sports federations.
“The internationals tickets are part of the 25 percent. They are not part of our 6.6 million.”
LOCOG intends to release “hundreds of thousands” more tickets, for those who missed out the first time, in a second round of sales, details of which the group will announce by June 24. But, there will be no more chances for attending the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, or the athletics finals, because those tickets are sold out.
Meanwhile, as might have been expected, thousands of Brits who were awarded Olympics tickets in this first ballot had their credit cards declined, their tickets now redistributed to others on the list. This number hardly made a dent in the pool of roughly 1 million applicants who left the initial process empty-handed.
Early this week, following the public outcry on the ticketing debacle, a French Olympics ticket seller invited British (and other European) citizens to register to buy tickets on its site, Eventeam2012.fr. Those who entered their information by midnight on June 6 would be eligible to apply for tickets on the site during a two day period starting on June 13. Brits are eligible to buy Olympics tickets from sites originating in European Union countries.
Heavy demand led to the site crashing on the 6th, leaving many fans out in the cold. The situation was similar to what happened to Sportsworld, which also experienced a site crash in May due to heavy demand.