Is there a genuine ticket problem at the London Olympics or is it simply a lack of understanding in the Olympic ways?
I think it is a little of both as Day 5 of the 2012 Games goes on with empty seats in venues being the most-talked about issue in and around London. The great transportation snafu – the pre-Games worry – has basically been solved by London’s solid train and tube situation. It’s crowded going places, but you get there, and in reasonable time.
The ticket dilemma happens at every Summer Games, but it hasn’t been as pronounced as it has been here. Why? Because there is a lot of angst by Britoners over the lack of tickets available for events and the number of empty seats they see on television.
Here’s the thing. The empty seats weren’t available to the public. They are IOC seats, sponsor seats or politician seats. The seats are reserved for the accredited only. So even if the London organizers want to fill them, they can’t.
I’ve never been to an Olympics that didn’t have a ton of empty IOC seats in choice locations. It happens everywhere – but it’s noticed here more for two reasons: 1) the rest of the stadium are pretty closed to full; 2) the frustration level over the empty seats.
The empty seats become less obvious, say, in a place like Athens, where you could go to a venue like softball and half the stadium would be empty. There is no half empty here. Everywhere I’ve been so far looks closer to oversold than empty. But the IOC seats are like the Platinum seats at the Air Canada Centre at the beginning and end of some periods. The fancy people who sit there aren’t always on time, and sometimes don’t show at all. It’s no different here in London, where the paid for seats are filled. It’s the seats that weren’t bought and can’t be sold that remain empty and really, isn’t that just part of what doing business with the IOC is all about?