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2012 ticket prices have a familiar ring

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Roger Mosey | 13:01 UK time, Friday, 15 October 2010

Our colleagues over at London 2012 always knew that the headline from their announcement today of their ticket prices would most likely be "what's the most expensive?" So even if the bulk of the tickets are available at a reasonable price, it's the figures the media narrative would call "eye-watering" that would, well, catch the eye.

Now all is revealed, and you could say it's certainly a bold gesture. The top price for the opening ceremony will be £2012, while some of the lowest price tickets for the Games will come in at a similarly-branded 20 pounds and 12 pence. And as someone who has 2012 as part of his office phone number, I can hardly complain about the use of "2012" as a gimmick.

Ticket sign for the 2011 Olympics

There are other potentially smart PR moves too, like the "pay your age" idea for young people at some of the sessions - with a 10 year old paying £10 and a 16 year old paying £16, and discounts also for the elderly. (No, 80 year olds don't pay £80.)

But the real story here is about the mass audience numbers between £2012 and £20.12. That's where regular people will have to pay the going rate, and London 2012 have always been clear that they have financial targets to reach. As the sports minister Hugh Robertson has said on the BBC News Channel, this isn't about making a profit in any conventional sense: it's about meeting the costs of running the Games, just like the commercial sponsorship issues we've discussed here before.

So for the greatest number of tickets there's quite a steep rake where the lower-priced tickets - aiming to come as close as they can to London's early promises - are balanced by the higher-priced ones.

For "Super Finals" in the Stadium, in which you'd include the 100 metres, the range is from £50 to £725. The theory being (in what's close to a modern political consensus) that the well-off can pay more, thus allowing more tickets to be made affordable. Whether that market mechanism works, we shall see; but on a quick look at the full list there are lots of events where £20 tickets are available, including football at its various venues around the UK, and shooting seems to have top-price tickets of only £40 for the final.

The scene at the Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing for the 100m final

The Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing was packed for the 100m final

This is how London 2012 sum up the big picture:

- 8.8m tickets available for the Olympic Games
- 75% of these tickets will be on sale to the public from March 2011
- 90% of these tickets will be priced at £100 or under
- Two thirds of these tickets will be priced at £50 or under
- 2.5m tickets will be priced at £20 or under

The questions now are who will buy and at what price, and can London sell-out as many of the venues as possible? Because the key to a successful Games is passionate, packed crowds. So it would be good to hear your views.

Have the London 2012 organisers got it right? Will you be in the queue when sales start next year? Or has this dashed your hopes of a day out at the Olympics? Let us know.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    OK then, if locog don't want the media to go overboard can they explain what a ticket priced £2012 gets punter? Is it just a bog standard seat or do you get corporate hospitality and a chance to run the 100m final?!

    It might be a gimmick but its bloody expensive!

  • Comment number 2.

    I think that potentially some of the sports are quite expensive for the talent on offer. For example, the boxing is £95 for the mens finals. Compare that to the £40 I paid to see Hatton vs Tzsyu or the £50 I paid to see Calzaghe vs Hopkins in Vegas. Even the Magnificent Seven last month started at £50 I believe and these are professional fighters. Not to devalue to amateur sport but is there a need for such aggressive pricing?

    Similarly £40 for the mens Football final seems good value for money compared to the price of a standard premier league match these days, but is it really? 2012 is the year of the Euro's, how many quality players will even be at the World cup, would Wembley even be filled? I am not certain it would. £30 for the womens final seems somewhat expensive also, I would like to go to as many of the 'smaller' less popular sports, but £30 is not exactly cheap. I understand costs need to be covered but are those prices truly necessary? I put this a different way, we live in a country with a reasonable amount of luxury, enough spare money to enjoy ourselves. Plenty of Brits went over to Bejing and cheered on our athletes, if the prices are what I think is a little dear in places (not all some sports are very fairly priced) then how are we expecting people from less fortunate countries to be able to afford to come to London 2012. It's not as if London is a cheap city to stay in anyway!

    I just hope the cost of London can be shared fairly between commercial enterprises gaining valuable global exposure and the individuals watching the games to the point where all have the opportunity to watch live, as opposed to just those with privileged enough backgrounds to be able to afford tickets.

  • Comment number 3.

    I think that potentially some of the sports are quite expensive for the talent on offer. For example, the boxing is £95 for the mens finals. Compare that to the £40 I paid to see Hatton vs Tzsyu or the £50 I paid to see Calzaghe vs Hopkins in Vegas. Even the Magnificent Seven last month started at £50 I believe and these are professional fighters. Not to devalue to amateur sport but is there a need for such aggressive pricing?

    Similarly £40 for the mens Football final seems good value for money compared to the price of a standard premier league match these days, but is it really? 2012 is the year of the Euro's, how many quality players will even be at the World cup, would Wembley even be filled? I am not certain it would. £30 for the womens final seems somewhat expensive also, I would like to go to as many of the 'smaller' less popular sports, but £30 is not exactly cheap. I understand costs need to be covered but are those prices truly necessary? I put this a different way, we live in a country with a reasonable amount of luxury, enough spare money to enjoy ourselves. Plenty of Brits went over to Bejing and cheered on our athletes, if the prices are what I think is a little dear in places (not all some sports are very fairly priced) then how are we expecting people from less fortunate countries to be able to afford to come to London 2012. It's not as if London is a cheap city to stay in anyway!

    I just hope the cost of London can be shared fairly between commercial enterprises gaining valuable global exposure and the individuals watching the games to the point where all have the opportunity to watch live, as opposed to just those with privileged enough backgrounds to be able to afford tickets.

  • Comment number 4.

    Reasonable pricing for most events seeing as this is a huge event that only comes around every 4 years.
    I think there is enough time before for people to save up if they really want to go to several high profile (thus expensive) events. And really even the final tickets for most things are not too bad.
    I don't consider £100 for a day of world class athletics or swimming to be that pricey. Considering you should get several finals and other events into a whole days viewing.

  • Comment number 5.

    Phil Stavri, 3&4:

    the football at the Olimpics is Under 23s (apart from 3 players per squad) so the compettion is usually extremely competitive even if many of the global star names are not there. I don't think the lowest price of £40 for the Final at Wembeley is that bad, there's not a bad seat in the new Wembeley. Fantastic stadium. Maybe a dodgy pitch though...

  • Comment number 6.

    I reckon they have this spot-on, can't wait. I for sure will attempt(!) to get tickets.

  • Comment number 7.

    Cantona: you don't get a day for £100, in the swimming about 1.5 - 2 hours, athletics amybe a bit more 2-2.5 hours.

    There's some stand out good value things, Modern Pentathlon, tennis and football, hockey are all good value. Eventing and BMX finals less so.

  • Comment number 8.

    Prices look reasonable overall.

    Yes the top prices are very expensive for events like the 100m but wasn't that always going to be the case? For that event they start at a more reasonable £50. At the end of the day these events are still likely to be over subscribed so biggest problem for most people will be actually getting a ticket.

    People need to do a comparison with other sports events or concerts by top stars like Lady Gaga to see how London 2012 compares. For example tickets for next Month's Eng v NZ rugby international at Twickenham start at over £100 on Ticketmaster and that's for tickets in the top corner of the stadium. You are talking a lot more for prime seats in the West stand.

    For me I am interested more in what view you will get for the middle priced tickets. £725 is out of my price range for the 100m and I am a bit of a seat snob so would rather not be sat right at the back on the back straight (which I think is where you could end up for £50). What would you get for the £125 seats?

  • Comment number 9.

    Everybody needs to remember this is the Olympic Games, not Pickering Town v Long Eaton United. £20 for an Olympic football QF at Newcastle sounds good; I'll be there.

  • Comment number 10.

    Good to see they're attempting to recoup some of the money that's being wasted putting this thing on in the first place. The only problem is, where has that money come from - us. And who is now being expected to pay it back via tickets sales - er.....us...

  • Comment number 11.

    I heard Sebastian Coe crowing on the news earlier about the "pay your age" scheme for under-16s, which is all well and good, but when I last checked it wasn't them paying the council tax to afford the Olympics in the first place.

    I think you can tell looking at the overall list of prices which sports had the most respondents when people signing up to the ticketing scheme were asked to choose which ones they preferred, which with hindsight I think everyone would've been best off leaving blank.

    What we don't know, though, is how many tickets of each price band are available, what individual events are covered by each band and how each corresponds to seating areas in the venues; for instance, I'm convinced that there must be some kind of catch with those £20.12 tickets for the ceremonies - perhaps you'll have to sit on the roof of the stadium for those?

    There are also three other aspects to people buying tickets which have been kept relatively quiet in my opinion:
    - how even if you have the money you'll have to take your chances in the ballot for over-subscribed events
    - how Londoners and people in the UK don't get priority over people from say, Naples, Lisbon or Frankfurt
    - and how, with Ticketmaster running the show, you'll probably have to add another £10 onto each of those tickets to take account of booking and processing fees.

  • Comment number 12.

    Correct me if I am wrong but the volunteering is for those aged 18 on the 1st January 2012. Many of those who will be 18 around then and eligible to help will be unable to because of the focus on exams (the same could be said for those younger than 18 too if they can help.) Now the special tickets are available for those aged 16 or under on 27th July 2012. Therefore those who will be 17 or turn 18 in the school year ending 2012 will be unable to volunteer and unable to buy the special pay your age tickets.

    And I thought London 2012 was supposed to be benefiting the young people!

  • Comment number 13.

    One thing LOCOG has got wrong is the timing. I've applied to be a volunteer, but I'd also like to take some time to watch some events too. It appears that I'll have to apply for tickets before knowing if/when I'll be volunteering, so there could very well be clashes. If I get accepted as a volunteer, it looks like I'll also be setting up a 'Ticket Swap Shop' for volunteers, unless LOCOG would like to do it for us...

  • Comment number 14.

    13. At 4:00pm on 15 Oct 2010, Raymondinho wrote:
    One thing LOCOG has got wrong is the timing. I've applied to be a volunteer, but I'd also like to take some time to watch some events too. It appears that I'll have to apply for tickets before knowing if/when I'll be volunteering, so there could very well be clashes. If I get accepted as a volunteer, it looks like I'll also be setting up a 'Ticket Swap Shop' for volunteers, unless LOCOG would like to do it for us...
    _________________________________________________________________________

    Fully agree.
    I wont even bother buying (or applying) for tickets until I know when & where * if I am picked as a voulenteer.
    Why spend money on tickets that i might not be able to use?
    Problem is, by yhr time those who are helping with the games know where & when we are to be used, all the reasonably priced tickets will have long gone.
    I'm beginning to think Al Murray was right...Its gonna be a bit ****

  • Comment number 15.

    Having had a look at the ticket prices, I think the vast majority are pretty affordable and the premium events were always going to have a premium charge associated with them (which I am fine with).

    As with all ticketed events in this country, the real issue will be how to prevent the big internet companies from getting hold of the tickets and then selling them on at inflated prices. I have registered for tickets, but I do not recall anywhere in the registration process seeing a proviso that would mean only those who have registered will be entitled to tickets.

    The other issue is the ticket release day rush. I'm sure many people who have bought (or should that be 'have tried to buy'?) tickets for gigs/festivals will know the pain of waiting for hours and hours on a page that states you are in a queue, or loading or whatever the message happens to be and not always getting the tickets you want. It would be a travesty if the people do not get to see this once in a life time event as those who have the means (faster internet connections/better internet access) sweep up the tickets at the expense of those who would make these games the spectacle it should be.

    The Beijing games looked great on TV but once you looked underneath the glossy veneer the stadiums were empty and the atmosphere muted. I believe the lasting legacy of the London games should be that this was a games for the people as much, as the worldwide TV audience.

  • Comment number 16.

    I put my name down for tickets initially, but am now having second thoughts. We also have to take into account the travel problems getting to the venues (with or without rail or tube strikes) as I don't know where some of the venues are, or what times the various events will start. Good news that I may qualify for a 'cheap' ticket at the age of 63, otherwise TV is looking more attractive. Four figure ticket prices are just silly.

  • Comment number 17.

    #15 There won't be a ticket day rush. It's done by a ballot system so you will have a few weeks to apply for tickets and then tickets for over subscribed events will be allocated randomly.

  • Comment number 18.

    The best laugh is the the poor old taxpayer who got railroaded into paying for the staging the Olympics and now will have to pay out to watch them!!!

  • Comment number 19.

    Soon adds up - a minimum of £50 to watch a medal event of any significance [makes the Premier League look reasonable!], and I'd have thought people wanting to soak up the Olympic experience would hope to attend a few events over a couple of days. So while it may be a good selling point that travelcards are inclkuded in the price, if you're looking to pack in 2 or 3 events in a day, you end up paying for them with each ticket bought.

  • Comment number 20.

    #11, JasonCrawley:
    "Londoners and people in the UK don't get priority over people from say, Naples, Lisbon or Frankfurt"

    No fella, they won't. Its the Olympics, and I think that this would be slightly against the ethos of the event. Do bear in mind though, that you'll be much better informed by the media about which tickets are available and when (I don't remember the pricing for Sydney being headline news, or the availabilty of tickets for the modern Pentathon in Beijing making the BBC website) so it should be pretty easy to grab a couple.

    And remember, whilst there has been and will be a price to pay for the Olympics for Londoners, there will also be massive benefits as well. If you just look for the negative then that's all you'll find.

  • Comment number 21.

    they'll be offering the the tickets on Ticketmaster at face value and within seconds the price will be 5 times that on another site

  • Comment number 22.

    I think prices is way too expensive. Consider the last few olympic games right from Atlanta, Barcelona, Sydney, Athens and Beijing.

    100 Metre olympic games finals Category A max price is around 125 to 150 US dollars.

    This is beijing olympic ticket pricing guide http://www.travelchinaguide.com/beijing-olympic/ticket-price.htm

    What will you get for 50 pounds or 125 pounds, Sitting in the back of the stadium, watching someone waving flag after winning. It is way beyond comprehension the ticket prices.

    No one will watch from the best seat except millionaires from UK or US.

  • Comment number 23.

    £2012 for the opening ceremony is a bit costly, what do you get and the gimmick that is £20.12 is silly as well.
    I feel that the ticket allocation was silly, why should Europeans get the same chance then us Brits?
    Once in a lifetime chance to see it and we may not get them...tell the EU to stuff themselves.
    Seems the Eu want to wreck the Olympics for Britain, make it the 'European' Games soon.
    Anyway as for the tickets, how will totuts be caught and those who will resale the ticket on e-bay?? How will they be caught and will any tickets resold be cancelled?

  • Comment number 24.

    A lot of good points here. Keep them coming in and I'll see if we can ask LOCOG to respond to some of the questions being raised.

  • Comment number 25.

    I have no issue with the prices of the tickets as such but really do wonder how many people from all over the UK will get to see an event by the time you take into account the costs of hotels, trains etc, whose prices will go through the roof during the games and price out normal folk.

    Hugh Robertson said it's about meeting the costs of running the Games. The amount the ticket sales will bring in will not even come close to this and the taxpayer is going to be left with billions to pay when the true cost of running these games comes out.

  • Comment number 26.

    JoDan wrote [25]:

    "Hugh Robertson said it's about meeting the costs of running the Games. The amount the ticket sales will bring in will not even come close to this and the taxpayer is going to be left with billions to pay when the true cost of running these games comes out."

    ------------------

    Of course. Like all these games, the London Olympics is designed to siphon money out of the public pocket and into the pockets of corporate interests - contractors, logistics, merchandising, global branding etc etc. They're a great way to do this legally - and have the added advantage that you can spin it as some kind of honour & benefit to the scam's victims.

  • Comment number 27.

    As promised, I've put some of the issues you've raised to LOCOG. In particular I raised three of your comments:

    1. "As with all ticketed events in this country, the real issue will be how to prevent the big internet companies from getting hold of the tickets and then selling them on at inflated prices... I do not recall anywhere in the registration process seeing a proviso that would mean only those who have registered will be entitled to tickets."
    2. "How will touts be caught and those who will resale the ticket on e-bay?? How will they be caught and will any tickets resold be cancelled?"
    3. "They'll be offering the the tickets on Ticketmaster at face value and within seconds the price will be 5 times that on another site"

    So here are the points LOCOG make in response:

    - selling on and Olympic ticket without the permission of the organising committee is illegal under the 2006 Olympic Act;

    - eBay will not carry Olympic tickets for that reason;

    - the police have set up a programme called 'operation podium' to deal with touts;

    - all the tickets sold by LOCOG will be traceable back to source;

    - LOCOG are intending to set up an official 'ticket exchange' so people can exchange tickets or sell them on at face value;

    - there will be a maximum amount of tickets that a person/address can purchase when tickets go on sale in March;

    - and LOCOG have already taken action against/closed down at least 30 unauthorised sites claiming to offer tickets and will continue to take tough action.

  • Comment number 28.

    Roger do you think LOCOG would consider changing the regulations of the special tickets to accommodate 17 and 18 year olds who will be unable to volunteer as I mentioned earlier or is it set in stone. It seems totally unfair sixteen year olds as of the opening ceremony date can pay sixteen pounds for a decent seat to an event prelim and yet 17 or 18 year olds could have to pay about 60 pounds for a similar style seat seeing as neither can realistically volunteer.

  • Comment number 29.

    Roger can you also please get them to clarify what a tickets priced at £2012 ridiculous pounds entitles you to?

  • Comment number 30.

    TV looks like a better option

  • Comment number 31.

    Hello again. LOCOG read this blog so they'll have seen your comments, but what I'll also aim to do before the end of the year is put a range of your questions to them because I know they're always open to feedback.

  • Comment number 32.

    i think prices are the biggest joke ever, i mean we paid for the olympics so why can't we get more afforbale tickets, went to bejing 2008 and the prices were about 10 times cheaper but china still did a great job of it. gonna try for the opening cermony and like 3 or 4 of the events just for the experice but tv is looking like a better opinon, anyway bbc is gonna be showling plenty of overage of it

  • Comment number 33.

    another point is that all the newspapers and officals having been talking about the cheap tickets they have, they fail to mention the fact that these seats are terrible and that you may aswell not go if you got those tickets

  • Comment number 34.

    Sport - and the Olympics especially - is designed nowadays much more for the millions/billions at home rather than the thousands there live - and probably the ceremonies in particular. Wasn't it the case in Beijing that actually only a third of the crowd could actually see the Olympic torch. With London's due to be positioned outside the stadium I suspect it'll be a similar story there too.

 

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