A question of ticketing
The last few weeks for London 2012 seem to have fitted the mantra "no news is good news". Compare and contrast the visit of the International Olympic Committee inspectors last week - which went pretty much unnoticed - with the torrent of words being devoted to the 2018 World Cup bidding process.
The announcement of the ticket prices for the Olympics was another of the potential banana skins that was side-stepped without anyone ending up sprawled across the pavement. As some of your comments showed not everyone was enamoured of tickets at up to £2,012 each.
But mostly there was an acceptance across the media that the organisers had done a decent job of balancing the need to raise income with the aim of offering as many affordable tickets as possible.
Now comes the even more challenging bit. An Olympics as organised as Beijing's in 2008 still had a computer crash when tickets started being sold online and then some fisticuffs when the last batch were made available to people who'd queued for them.
Recent experience in the UK suggests we potentially face the same issues, though we'd hope without the violence.
Mark Foster and Tessa Sanderson promote tickets for London 2012. Photo: Getty
Well, more details are now emerging of how LOCOG are going to try to lower the risks. Below is some of the information in the email they've sent out to people who've registered for tickets. You'll see that the removal of the usual "first come, first served" principle is designed to avoid the Beijing/Take That meltdowns; and overall the organisers - and anyone wanting to buy a ticket - will be juggling with the complexity of the vast amount of choice available. Key skill needed for would-be spectators: spotting which events and sessions are likely to be over-subscribed, and the ones where your application has a high chance of success.
I should say that LOCOG have a handy set of questions and answers about the tickets on their website, and nobody can doubt this will be a huge undertaking to make sure the process is fair, glitch-free and tout-free.
We'll know how successfully the first hurdle has been overcome in March next year when sales begin, and then the biggest test is whether the venues are full to capacity with contented ticket-holders in the summer of 2012.
You will be able to apply online at www.tickets.london2012.com or via a paper application form. Paper application forms will be available on high streets throughout the UK.
Unlike some other events, tickets will not be allocated on a first come, first served basis. The application window will be open for a set period of time, after which all applications will be considered equally. This means there is no advantage to submitting your application on the first day. With so many sports, venues and days to consider, we recommend you take your time and discuss your plans with family and friends before submitting your application.
For sessions where demand exceeds the supply of available tickets, an automated and random selection process ('ballot') will run to ensure the fairest possible allocation of tickets for those sessions. The aim of the ballot is to maximise the number of different applicants who are allocated tickets.
Once tickets have been allocated and payment taken we will tell you whether or not your application has been successful, the amount you have been charged and for which of your chosen sessions you have been allocated tickets. If you are successful in all your session applications, you are committed to buying all the tickets.
You can pay by Visa (debit, credit and prepaid), and also by cheque or postal order if applying via the paper application form. If you choose to pay by Visa, you must ensure you have sufficient funds to cover the maximum possible charge.
You can only submit one application per email address and Visa card.
To increase your chances of being successful, we recommend that you apply for more than one or two sessions and for a range of sports.
Tickets will be delivered to your billing address in 2012.