Where we stand on BBC Olympics tickets
There's less than a month to go now if you want to get in your request for tickets for the London Olympics.
Around the BBC 2012 office, as in a multitude of others, there's been much scrutiny of the timetable; and I've heard the debate many people around the UK are having.
"If I try to buy tickets for the really big events, what happens if I don't get them - or what happens if I do?" One route leads to needing some fallbacks, while the other risks a big bill if you're lucky in the ballot.
Any of us wanting to buy tickets for our personal use are using the same external process as everybody else. But in the light of the discussion about how other public bodies are buying seats for the Games, I thought this would be a good time to explain the BBC's overall policy on ticket purchases.
Rightsholding broadcasters are often allowed to buy tickets - or in some cases a small number are allocated free - as part of their contract with sporting bodies. This happens routinely for major events across the world.
The Games organisers opened the sale of tickets in March in a fanfare of publicity
Here at the BBC, for these Olympics we've tried to balance two things.
First, we do need to buy some tickets for reasons that I'll explain. But also we have to make sure we're spending licence-fee money wisely and not unreasonably limiting the number available to the public.
We therefore started with some firm principles about what we would NOT do.
- There will be no tickets given free to any BBC staff member or on-screen talent for personal use, no matter what their level of seniority or fame
- No tickets will be available for family members, partners or friends of BBC employees
- We will not purchase tickets for the very highest demand events like the Opening and Closing ceremonies
- We will also not buy any top-price super-premium tickets for any event.
But we do require tickets for domestic production reasons, such as getting commentators and producers to some events as part of their preparations and research, or as competition prizes for members of the public; and some for a strictly limited amount of business use where a ticket may be provided to an external guest - for example to a visiting international broadcaster who may want to see behind the scenes at the BBC's Olympic Park headquarters.
So to that end we've bought an average of 27 tickets for each day there is competitive, ticketed sport.
These are spread across a range of events and venues across the UK, so typically there'll be four for the swimming and four for the rowing - and we've avoided block-bookings of the kind made by the corporate sponsors, who obviously have a far greater ticket allocation.
We will be allocating these tickets between production and business use as we firm up our coverage plans ahead of the Games.
If any of the tickets aren't used for the purposes I've set out, they would then be made available to BBC staff in a ballot - but anyone successful would have to pay the full face value.
No discounts and again no tickets for family or friends. As part of our commitment to transparency, the BBC will publish details of the tickets allocated for business use in due course.
This is a policy overall that is far tougher than most other host-nation broadcasters would contemplate; but it's important that we operate fairly - and, as I hope we're showing here, that we're also open about what we're doing.