BBC BLOGS - James Pearce

Archives for June 2011

Olympic ticket hopefuls face an anxious wait

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James Pearce | 13:30 UK time, Friday, 24 June 2011

This was not my usual start to the day.

I was wide awake, laptop ready, before Breakfast television had even gone on air. Around the country hundreds of thousands of people were doing exactly the same. Kettles were boiling and fingers were being loosened ahead of what we all knew was going to be a mad scramble for Olympic tickets.

0600 BST was the appointed opening time of the second round sales. London 2012 organisers had always been nervous that their system would struggle to cope with the demand. If they'd hoped that this 0600 BST start would deter the less enthusiastic, they were wrong. Up and down streets alarms had been going off from 0530 BST.

Only those who'd missed out in the first ballot were entitled to buy tickets today - that was a total of 1.2m people. I was one of them.

I'm very fortunate, as I'll be working at the Games next year, so my desperation to get hold of a ticket is much less than for many of you. I struggle to imagine how anxious I'd have been this morning if I, like most of you, knew that the minutes after the 0600 BST alarm might determine whether I'd ever make it into the Olympic Park.

I'd made thorough preparations for today's process. Like everybody else, I'd studied the list of available sessions. In the end I'd decided to plump for beach volleyball. There were still some tickets available to the quarter-finals on a Saturday evening. These were bound to be popular, so I was well aware that I'd need to get in quick.

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Hope remains for the one million unlucky applicants

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James Pearce | 14:58 UK time, Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Many of you who applied for Olympic tickets won't have been surprised at the news on Monday that more than half of all the applications were unsuccessful. Around a million of the 1.8m people who requested tickets have got nothing.

This poses the greatest challenge that Lord Coe and his team have faced since London was awarded the Games in 2005. They have to manage the disappointment of the vast number of people who'd dreamed of watching the men's 100 metres final inside the Olympic stadium, but now know that they'll have to settle for seeing it on television instead.

That, of course, was always going to be the case. We are a nation of sports lovers. It was never going to be possible to build a stadium large enough to seat even a fraction of those who wanted to be there. I've been given some figures which illustrate the extraordinary level of demand for 2012 tickets.

There will be 650 sessions across all sports, with an average of four price categories at each one. That means that there were a total of about 2500 different options for people to consider when they applied. More than 1500 of those pricing categories across the 650 sessions were oversubscribed. Some people who chose 'bankers' like early rounds of hockey, weightlifting and handball have been left disappointed.

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