UK: Empty Seats at London 2012?

This post is part of our special coverage London 2012 Olympics.

As the games enter their 5th day, Olympic fans are struggling to find tickets to the various venues in London. Many were shocked to see empty seats during the early days; forcing the London Organising Committee of the Olympics & Paralympics (LOCOG) to defend themselves.

The Teleperfomance Group Blog in a post titled, ‘Being Open can be the Quickest Way to Defuse a Crisis’ explains:

The London Olympic Games are a great demonstration of how customer service can be managed on a grand scale. With an event this size, there are bound to be problems, but take a look at how one of the latest ‘problems’ is being dealt with. Many members of the public failed to get tickets to the games in the public ballot. They were therefore shocked to see empty seats at some of the events on Saturday morning. The immediate reaction in the media was that it was all down to those annoying corporate sponsors again – people with free tickets not showing up for games that some would love to attend, but the games organizers corrected this view.

On Twitter the hashtag #EmptySeats starting making the rounds:

@Newsflare asks: “Should we #fillthoseseats and sell them at cut price just before the events? What do you think are the effects of seeing these #emptyseats?

"I see the corporates and sponsors really wanted to be at the match....... #emptyseats" Image uploaded by Twitter user: @MossyMFC1234

“I see the corporates and sponsors really wanted to be at the match..#emptyseats” Image uploaded by Twitter user: @MossyMFC1234

@GigiDaaiMusic makes an interesting observation: How is it that Prince William & Prince Harry can make it to almost every Olympic event yet these so called VIP's can't?! Cheek #EmptySeats

@FunandGames12: Even if 70-75% of tickets do go to public, this Arena is no more than 60% full right now, yet ‘sold-out’. #Day5 #emptyseats #london2012

@RuksanaB suggests: If there's a problem with empty seats, why not do what the Oscars have been doing for ages.. Seat Fillers #emptyseats #London2012Olympics

DavidPrescott in his blog-post Recycle the Olympic Seats suggests ways to fill in the Olympic venues via social media:

Just got back from the Olympic Park to hear Locog’s trying to solve the problem with empty seats at venues. I managed to get a £10 entrance only ticket to the park, not expecting to see any Olympic action other than on the big screens. But as we walked around the site, I came across a long queue for the ticket office. It was for recycled tickets to watch the basketball and handball. So after a half hour queue, I found myself picking up a £90 ticket to see the US v Croatia in the basketball arena for just…£5. When I went home I saw the huge PR disaster that was emerging from the blocks of empty seats at various venues in and outside the Olympics Park. TV, print and online were all showing the pictures of sparsely-attended events, because of the absence of VIPs, sponsors and the ‘Olympic Family’ – officials, dignitaries and the media. So I thought I’d sit down and attempt to come up with a solution in my blog – a 30 minute use-it-or-lose-it plan to recycle tickets for seats not taken within half an hour of the start.

This is the suggestion he offers:

I know that one large corporate has handed back at least 10 tickets for the 100m men’s final because their clients were too scared to accept them. So what can we do? Well, one idea could be to recycle more of the seats. There should be a time limit of 30 mins to take up the seat. As all tickets are scanned, it’ll be quite easy to see which seats are still empty. The seats would then come back on the market and sold at the on-site ticket office for a fiver. If the original ticket holder turns up late, they could be given another recycled ticket or empty space. But access to the Olympic Park should be increased. £10 tickets should be made available on a first come first served basis every morning. This would mean more people would be in the park to apply for recycled tickets. I think this is the easiest way to solve the problem. But solve it they must.

With the Games still in the first week of action, let’s see if the LOCOG will be able to re-organise themselves to gather fans and  fill-up venues. This will secure the Games’ legacy and save face for the British city of London.

This post is part of our special coverage London 2012 Olympics.



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