Comments for en-gb 30 Sat 30 Aug 2014 06:37:45 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at YiXin921 So basically traffic restrictions are also main reasons for people not to attend. Because Beijing is too big and Beijingers have been in the habit of driving their own cars, it's really a hard thing to take buses or underground to travel through city. For example, my home is at west 4th Ring and the Bird's Nest is at north 5th Ring, from my home to Bird's Nest it is not a far way for Beijingers but it takes about 2 hours by buses in normal working days. The area of Beijing is about 10 times of London and it's really a pain to travel through the huge city by public transport. Tue 12 Aug 2008 12:01:22 GMT+1 YiXin921 I am a Beijinger studying in London and now in Beijing for the game. I think there are many reasons. For example, I have some friends who have some tickets may wont go to watch the games just simply because them dont have time. Most of tickets are quite cheep so people dont care about if they waste these money. I think another important reason is that most of us who booked tickets online didnt get the tickets which we really want. Just like me, when I booked tickets online I need to fille 10 choices of games but I just wanted 3 of them after draw I didnt get any tikets of these 3 and just got 2 tickets which I am not really very interested in. So actually I am think if I need go for it, and the date of these tickets is odd but the number of my car is even, because of that I can not drive to the place and my home is far from the city center, that's really a matter for me. Tue 12 Aug 2008 11:44:34 GMT+1 pveatx I am currently in Beijing and attended the hockey match GBR - ARG. When I entered the stadium my assigned seating (on a ticket purchased over a year ago) was occupied by a small army of Chinese men, in identical yellow T-shirts. Didn't speak a word of English and we decided to just sit elsewhere.After the goal filled 2nd match (AUS 6 - Spain 1) they actually marched out of the stadium in military fashion and entered waiting green army trucks. There must have been hundreds of them (I have photographs), they all had crew cuts, so I assume army, and certainly did not enjoy the hockey.. most were asleep or lethargic through the match. I suppose the Beijing Olympic Committee has found a way to deal with the embarrassingly empty stadiums after all!Peter Tue 12 Aug 2008 06:50:18 GMT+1 benxiongda That family members of competitors have to go to the street with banners asking for tickets when inside seats are empty speaks volumes for the cackhanded way BOCOG has organised the tickets and treats the competitors beyond the eye-candy necessary. From the beginning, with the Phase 1, then the disastrous Phase 2 mess, then the Phase 3 'sellout', followed by a Phase 4 (!) as the phase 3 was a total cokup in planning terms. Phase 4 meants physically scrambling for tickets, as if BOCOG had given up on trying to do things normally. Now they lock everything up so noone can get in to see the 'free' events. We are trying to get tix for the swimming but maybe will not be able to. All Chinese websites have banned any mention of tickets for sale, it is impossible to do anything online (but I am sure that chatrooms exist or mailing lists or you can use expat lists at expat prices).The amosphere is stifled, there is no joy, the volunteers seem vacant, the hotels are empty but yet still try to rip visitors off.This is not a good Olympics for the spectators. It is a show so that for years to come the powers can parade how great China is and will give unlimited excuses for the playing of the national anthem at every opportunity. The fact that you are there or not is of no concern to them. Tue 12 Aug 2008 06:40:38 GMT+1 AndreCrabtree Actually, moving the finals to the morning has a negative impact on swimmers and this was a major worry when they announced the move. The reasons for the glut of world records is simply that many of the swimmers are just so much better than last year but also because of the new Speedo costume which has helped break about 31 world records this year alone going into the Olympics. Tue 12 Aug 2008 05:04:39 GMT+1 timmytim Athens also had a ton of empty seats. Organizers go so far into the hole financially when they're building the Olympic facilities they then think they can make it up by charging an absurd amount of money for tickets--especially for events like archery (and many others) that have a minimal fan base. I like solutionist's comment that anyone who has failed to show up 15 minutes before an event loses his or her seat. There are a lot of people who would enjoy spending an afternoon watching an Olympic event if they didn't have to pay an arm and a leg. Less popular sports should also be located in easy-to-reach locations so casual fans will be more likely to attend. This is one problem you can't blame on the USA (I'm looking at you, Inherent). The only event that was moved to accommodate the US TV schedule is swimming, and that's been the one event that consistently has boisterous, sell out crowds. Moving the finals to the mornings instead of evenings may also be responsible for the glut of world records being set as well. Mon 11 Aug 2008 17:43:02 GMT+1 Inherent blame china is an easy option but do the U.S. of A not have something to do with it;the games are timed round U.S.A. prime time look at Michael Phelps finals,usually all the swimming finals would be late at night .people must sleep some times Mon 11 Aug 2008 17:21:05 GMT+1 Bowler I am reading this with intense surprise that so many people seem to talk about this issue but none of them really came up with a solution. Maybe in 2012, London would guarantee that all ticket holders will turn up for the games. The organisers do not know who would and who would not turn up for the games and if people want to waste their money for purchasing a ticket then not turn up, what is the organising organisation going to do, NOTHING, because they cannot do anything about it. Wake up people, there is never going to be a solution for this issue. People have their own choice as to go or not to go after they purchased the tickets and if you don't like it, too bad. Mon 11 Aug 2008 16:13:12 GMT+1 bronzeVBJ We just returned from Hong Kong, where I moved heaven and earth trying to buy tickets to the equestrian events. There were plenty of seats available, as you can see from the empty stands. The ticket buying process was made as difficult as possible, requiring a flight to Beijing to pick up tickets, as they will not be shipped. No proxies can be sent, you are required to present photo ID to get your tickets. As we only had transit visas and planned on just staying in HK, this was impossible. Fortunately we did not get caught out in the huge internet ticket scam that left many, including families of athletes, without access to the games and considerably poorer. It seems to me they don't actually want an audience. Shame for the athletes - especially the riders performing at a half empty Sha Tin arena. Mon 11 Aug 2008 14:24:50 GMT+1 PACSYIP There is no quick fix for this problem, it happens in the World cup, European championship. We have to face the reality that all the sponsors are not bothered to turn up to the game because they are only there for shopping and holiday. Do you think they are interested in fencing and beach Volleyball? I don't think the government can do anything to tackle this problem in 2012 London Olympics, unless we sell 99% of tickets to the real genuine fans and give 1% out to sponsors, otherwise we are still talking empty seat problem in 10 or 20 years time.At the end of the day it's all about who is the richest and corruption. Mon 11 Aug 2008 11:57:02 GMT+1 billyng is basketball games Mon 11 Aug 2008 10:23:30 GMT+1 billyng hello, my name is billy, originally from hong kong and been studying in nottingham for 3yrs.i thk i m the right to tell u abt this topicfirst, base on my experience, the seats are not sold fully to the public like many football games held in nba...and according to the security reasons, it have a difficulty to leave the stadium when the audience face accident...also, the seat may base on the match attractiveness to sell tickets... e.g. if the game is v v low attractiveness...the officially may mark down the price instance, its economic supply and demand theory Mon 11 Aug 2008 10:22:50 GMT+1 Garra97 The timing of some events is also a problem. The swiming finals are in the morning local time to facilitate the American TV networks and you can notice the stadium filling up as the day progresses. I'm sure if these were in the evening more local people/corporate clients would attend. Mon 11 Aug 2008 10:17:41 GMT+1 nelnik I presume the aim of the rule banning the secondary market in tickets was to prevent people bulk buying tickets and the profiteering then they are then resold to the regular punters. The rule has clearly had an unfortunate side effect. I think, what they need is an official ticket exchange, possibly online, where tickets can be sold for say 99% of the face value and bought for 100% of the face value with 1% for admin costs. Then there wouldn't be profiteering and people who have been given tickets by a sponsor but aren't interested in attending would be incentivised to cash it in legally and recoup 99% of the face value.Similarly for people who leave early, if there was a ticket exchange, with an intra-day market, then they could recover some of the cost by selling it on, as they leave, similar to the Wimbeldon solution mentioned above. Mon 11 Aug 2008 10:07:49 GMT+1 1963Tiger I'd be there but I can't afford the ticket to China plus the expenses. Oh and my carbon footprint ....... Mon 11 Aug 2008 09:41:41 GMT+1 skymunkey This was also a problem at the Winter Games in Turin, events were apparently "sold-out" but there were areas of empty seats. So much so that at most sessions we could choose which seats to sit in rather than our allocated seat. My impression was that the empty seats were for tickets that were mainly allocated to sponsors and Olympic Family members. Also national associations are provided with tickets and for use by officials, these are not always used, however I have seen them offered to friends and family of competitors free of charge which can help put a few more bums on seats. Mon 11 Aug 2008 08:22:02 GMT+1 Chris Brown This is typical all over the world of sport and such events.Even here in Britain unless it is free or the price is right for the lay person you can forget it !Tickets for events are probably given away to business people and VIPs in complimentary form.It may well be that china has given away to many companies it hppes to do business with, tickets that could have been sold.On top of this the strict Chinese regime for entering their country as I remember it is quite an experience in itself !Anyway.The games have become a huge money spinner......what hasn't these days????Modern Olympics = Lets get our money backChina will gain out of this in one form or fashion.The UK when we host it will probably be paying for a century .But hopefully when Britain hosts the gameswe shall benefit form some great athletes being trained in our country and as a nation we shall go and support them by using those spare seats ! Mon 11 Aug 2008 08:12:52 GMT+1 Ian_the_chopper Considering how much the cost of the Olympics are going up I expect to see sky high prices for tickets and lots of empty seats in London too.Having said that I imagine London in August will be an easier place to get a hotel room for than Beijing and more likely to attract Mr Coroprate's wife if only for the shopping and theatre so I expect to see more sponsors tickets being taken up than in Beijing. Also London is a much easier place to get to for a weekend or even a day if you are coming from Northen Europe, for example than Beijing.Talking of tickets for London I assume there will be some sort of ballot or pre registration for tickets in the UK? Mon 11 Aug 2008 07:54:16 GMT+1 piebaps Why not stop giving out tickets? Instead, give a voucher for a ticket which requires the holder to attend the venue an hour before the event. It may not fill the seats but at least the no shows would actually have to go to the stadiums. Mon 11 Aug 2008 07:52:49 GMT+1 marchino The half empty stadia actually show that touts perform a useful purpose - at most other events, those with unwanted tickets (VIPs, sponsors, etc) would have sold them on to the touts for resale.Fair enough for Beijing to ban this - but then they ought to set up a resale market of their own for unwanted or partially used tickets (i.e. those who leave halfway through). Mon 11 Aug 2008 06:39:22 GMT+1 johninbeijing I live in Beijing and a couple of weeks ago there were huge queues here as Chinese people tried to buy tickets for events. Chinese people are rightly immensely proud to be hosting the games and they are in no way to blame for poor attendances. I suspect the finger must be pointed again at the number of corporate tickets handed out. It is a scandal that real fans are deprived the chance of watching the games. I hope we sort this out for the London Olympics. Mon 11 Aug 2008 05:53:15 GMT+1 AndreCrabtree It's also to do with tourist visas. The government have made is extremely difficult for tourists to obtain visas (for security reasons?) so those who have bought and paid for tickets may not be able to get entry to the country. Indeed, these temporary restrictions are a major cause for concern for businesses in Hong Kong who are unable to get visas for employees to cross the border. Mon 11 Aug 2008 05:01:04 GMT+1 neoellinas It amazes me though that Beijing isn't being singled out for the empty seats the same way Athens (unfairly) was. Athens was bashed in the media for poor attendance, and while attendance was lower than it was in Sydney and Atlanta, it was higher than Seoul and Barcelona, which are both considered very successful Olympic games. Athens also had the unlucky distinction of being the first Olympic games after 9/11, a situation which was made worse by sensationalist reports in the international media (including the British media) about what a terrorist haven Athens was and how the games there were not safe. In the end, the Athens games went off without a hitch, other than that one incident with the crazed "fan" at the marathon. Beijing can't even make that claim after what has transpired there this week, though that does not mean that their games will not end up being an overall success as well. They shouldn't be singled out any more than Athens or any other city, but I do find the different angle that's being taken quite interesting, as low turnout in Athens (which was partially a myth and certainly no worse than what has been seen at this year's Olympics or in past years during *qualification* rounds) was blamed on bad organization, whereas low turnout in Beijing is blamed on corporate sponsors not utilizing their tickets.Just as one final example on how the media can skew the picture: I ardently follow basketball, and followed many of the men's and women's matches at the 2004 games, just as I am now. There were indeed games in Athens where the stadium was almost empty, but those were the early morning (9 and 11 am) matchups that had the least importance overall. By mid afternoon, the stadium would usually be full almost to capacity, and for the prime time games, featuring the best teams, the stadium was always full. Yet the international media would show photos of the very same basketball facility with a sea of empty seats, a photo that could have only been taken for the 9 am matchups, whereas they ignored the full houses in the evening. Mon 11 Aug 2008 04:41:30 GMT+1 levdavidovich There was an empty seat at the opening ceremony where Gordon Brown should have been sitting - too lazy to welcome the British athletes into the stadium. Apparently, he will manage to get his fat backside to the closing ceremony - whooppee! Mon 11 Aug 2008 01:48:05 GMT+1 bryces One problem with Wembley is that the corporate seats are directly opposite the TV cameras. So every game at Wembley looks half empty. Whoever made that decision needs their head examined because it gives a really poor image of the venue. It was annoying to be at the American Football last year as part of a big crowd having a great time (if getting rather wet!) only to get back home and see the TV pictures which gave a totally different impression. The US viewers must have thought nobody had bothered to turn up!One other issue with Wembley is that so many seats are sold to so-called 'club wembley' members. It is unreasonable to assume that every club wembley member is interested in every game played at the stadium so at times when a non-football event is on (e.g. the US football game) those people sell their tickets to touts (which at least means fans can get in, albeit at a premium price) or just don't turn up at all which leaves an empty seat with people left outside the stadium.I think that corporate sponsors and 'club wembley' (or equivalent) at all sporting venues should have to actively claim their tickets, rather than having them automatically allocated. If they haven't claimed them a month before the event, then they should be put up for sale to fans. I also like the idea that if a seat has not been filled 15 mins before the start, then they should be sold to fans (with a small percentage of empty seats kept back in case the owner of the ticket was simply delayed due to traffic, etc.).I've got my tickets for the US football at Wembley this year, but because of the way the ticketing worked, I ended up with one more than I can currently use. Because Wembley and the NFL say that I can't put it on eBay, if I can't find another person to sell it to, there will be at least one empty seat next to me! Mon 11 Aug 2008 01:07:48 GMT+1 bella78 China is a long way away from other countries; it is summer time in Europe etc. and people are having family holidays. Expense and distance play a huge part in people's decision to travel!There are always a lot of empty seats at big sporting events despite what people say about - it's sold out - tv ruins that as people often prefer just to watch at home. Please give my congrats. to Nicole Cooke for her win in the cycling. Terrific win in atrocious conditions and she fought to the last. From Christchurch, New Zealand - also a long way away!! Mon 11 Aug 2008 00:44:00 GMT+1 PACSYIP There is no way the chinese will swap ticket with you, you are only dreaming. Everything is all about money. This's all you have to do, pay 2000 pound for the ticket, then you can get in. 50p and 1 pound to swap ticket? you must be joking, there is no such thing in china. People hold the cheap tickets, then sell it for the highest price. Wake up people, this is china we are talking about. Get real. Sun 10 Aug 2008 23:03:18 GMT+1 PACSYIP Dont blame anyone, it's all about corruption and illegal touting. I know a few chinese friends and they all say people bought the tickets months ago, they didn't want to go to watch the game but only sold their tickets for £2000-10000 each to other people. Who can buy these tickets in china? you tell me. Do you want to buy them just to watch 1 game? They told me, the closing ceremony ticket will cost more than that if you want one. It's crazy. Sun 10 Aug 2008 22:51:29 GMT+1 Euphobia The 1948 London Olympics were no different. I was five and was taken to many of the events to get "bums on seats"My grandfather and father worked at Wembley and one morning not even the press turned up. My father was sent with his camera to make the only official photos of the swimming. You can see on my Picasa public gallery. mother and I had to go to see the Greek Wrestling and only lasted five minutes and of course it rained but the pigeons were wonderful. Quite memorable.The minimalist 1948 Opening Ceremony has much to commend it! Perhaps all London needs to do is a repeat performance. Sun 10 Aug 2008 22:24:31 GMT+1 a18ion In Athens, whether officially sanctioned or not, Adrianou Street in the Plaka was full of Ticket Exchange Shops where you could swap tickets from one event for another, and no money changed hands. Or you could give up your unwanted tickets for 50p in the £1, and buy others at face value. For instance, with Amir Khan in the boxing finals we walked in and simply swapped our Volleyball gold tickets for boxing gold tickets. Why can't the organisers facilitate such a simple process? Ticket Exchange shops at the Tian'anmen square. Sun 10 Aug 2008 20:42:13 GMT+1 Timmy_Toerag Maybe potential corporate organisers could be given a greed test and if it shows up positive ban 'em for life. Subject to appeal of course. Sun 10 Aug 2008 20:41:43 GMT+1 AD_PhoeniX At 8:11pm on 10 Aug 2008, Perry_Fan wrote:this is a so stupid topic. the citizen of Beijing still need to work. the citizen dont have two weeks long holiday! Moreover, i dont think four years later, in London Olympic, you can make sure all seats will filled up to 94%! On the background of similar tickets' price, who 'd like to buy a preliminary contest's ticket instead of final contest's ticket? do you?----------------------------------------------------Sounds reasonable, anyway Sun 10 Aug 2008 20:26:33 GMT+1 Sam It's not just bums on 'paid' seats that are a problem in Beijing. All of the Road Race fans including family and friends were being prevented from supporting their loved ones at the side of the road races and turned away by Chinese Police. Many had come from all over the globe, only to end up watching it on TV anyway! The cyclists themselves admit it was the most silent road race they had ever experienced due to lack of fans. Evans stated it was like a "silent death!" Sun 10 Aug 2008 20:08:18 GMT+1 blackswan Same thing happened at the PanAmerican Games in Rio. Empty seats, people who wanted to go . but no way to get tickets .. Same excuses were used.Time to investigate this further, there must be a solution. If sponsors and others don´t need all these give-away tickets, they should either receive less tickets or there should be a recycling system so real enthusiasts get a chance to go and the athletes get an audience. Sun 10 Aug 2008 19:25:14 GMT+1 lorrainefletch It is the usual corporate problem, we want the seats for our big profit makers. Forget about the fans. Sun 10 Aug 2008 19:13:43 GMT+1 Perry_Fan this is a so stupid topic. the citizen of Beijing still need to work. the citizen dont have two weeks long holiday! Moreover, i dont think four years later, in London Olympic, you can make sure all seats will filled up to 94%! On the background of similar tickets' price, who 'd like to buy a preliminary contest's ticket instead of final contest's ticket? do you? Sun 10 Aug 2008 19:11:48 GMT+1 edinburghballgirl Good on Gordon Farqhuar and the BBC for raising this issue. I have been watching Olympic coverage in the USA (oh how I miss BBC tv and Radio Five Live!!) and so far they haven't mentioned the fact that many of these events seem to be taking place in front of what could generously be described as 'sparse' crowds.The buzz phrase here in the US seems to be 'don't offend the host nation'.Well, if BOCOG and the host nation have screwed this up then they really should be explaining themselves.I was lucky enough to be at the Games in Sydney eight years ago and, with the exception of a few early morning athletics sessions in the enormous Stadium Australia, everything I saw was packed with spectators.Frankly, I'm still offended that the Games were awarded to China in the first place. I would take some glee from the fact that they don't seem to be pulling it off with quite the success they claimed they would were it not for the fact that they and the IOC will doubtless continue to deny there's a problem until any storm blows over. Shame on BOCOG. Shame on the IOC. Sun 10 Aug 2008 18:44:45 GMT+1 lukkern The Wimbledon organisation has come half-way, at least, into figuring out a partial solution - when you leave the venue, you are asked to donate your ticket for resale by Wimbledon. If you agree and after full automated processing, people lining up outside will gain access, even though the day was sold out to begin with. The no-shows remain to be resolved.....LK Sun 10 Aug 2008 18:39:49 GMT+1 Bob in Bury 'Cronyism, elitism and favouritism are what a communist country is all about.'This has got nothing to do with communism. The above statement should read:"Cronyism, elitism and favouritism are what major sporting events are about"There is not a single person within the echelons of major sports (FA, FIFA, Olympics, etc) who give a rats arse about the public. It is far, far more important to suck up to officials, politicians and corporate sponsors as anyone watching any Wembley football game will know.I notice George Bush didn't have any problems getting a good seat. Sun 10 Aug 2008 18:26:18 GMT+1 chalk756 'Cronyism, elitism and favouritism are what a communist country is all about.'Cronyism, elitism and favouritism are what a dictatorship is all about, hence its occurence in facism aswell. It would not occur in a theoretical truly communist state. Sun 10 Aug 2008 17:51:21 GMT+1 Saltwaters We should never forget that these big sports events are primarily about the people in charge, the sports officials, the politicians and the big companies, ie the sponsors. These events serve these people and not the athletes. Sun 10 Aug 2008 17:06:42 GMT+1 quickquip Don't just stand there, do something! Now! How soon they all forget! It was just four years ago that another Olympics in a place called Athens got off to such a slow start with such sparse attendance that it seemed to be the best kept secret in town. Greek media were soon flooded with ads imploring the locals to go fill up the venues to serve as a suitable backdrop for international telly viewers in what was turnig into a glaring embarrasment for the Games organizers and sponsors. They even briefly considered slashing ticket prices but decided against it for fear it would cheapen the occasion along with it in the eyes of the public. According to capitalist orthodoxy of course, the magic 'market' should decide. Alas, China too appears to be backsliding on even nominal commitments to more lofty communiist ideals so its unlikely those unused tickets will end up in the calloused hands of the workers and peasants, sadly. But if the 'market' really rules, and the tickets arenn't being used... then maybe it's really NOT the "greatest show on earth" after all. Sun 10 Aug 2008 17:06:20 GMT+1 Ruaraidh Gillies China's not really a communist country anyway. More just an authoritarian regime. Their communist ideals are long gone (mostly).---------------------------------------------Indeed - I found it ironic to see several toll booths on the roads used for the cycling course! I suspect it was negotiating the booths in the treacherous conditions that caused Nicole Cooke to lose 20m on the other leaders. Sun 10 Aug 2008 16:16:26 GMT+1 GraemePuskas What comes to mind when one reads this story is the sight of Wembley just after half-time: the expanse of empty seats in the corporate areas... and also the Wimbledon centre court just after lunchtime, when the corporate seats are equally empty.There's no solution to this - the organisers have their money and the corporate people are showing their financial strength. The only losers are the genuine fans, and who cares about them? Sun 10 Aug 2008 15:44:59 GMT+1 plikjbvknbvghr Perhaps they should have a rush system where people line up before the event for a chance to fill an empty seat. If you don't have a ticket for the prime events, being there for a boring qualifier isn't so bad. Sun 10 Aug 2008 15:40:34 GMT+1 ifizzle ''Not really a surprise is it? Cronyism, elitism and favouritism alive and kicking, even in a communist country - who'd have thought!'------------------------------------------------------Cronyism, elitism and favouritism are what a communist country is all about. some animals more equal than others and all that. its the party stooges who sort out (read tout) tickets round sponsors and those with the deepest pockets.'------------------------------------------------------China's not really a communist country anyway. More just an authoritarian regime. Their communist ideals are long gone (mostly). Sun 10 Aug 2008 15:33:16 GMT+1 Canadiancharles Is it possible the government themselves bought up their own tickets just to claim a sell-out, although if this were the case, one would think, as one poster mentioned, they would have filled the seats with hords of dutiful young communists to prove how successful the games were. In fact it does seem surprisiong that, whatever the reason for the empty seats, they haven't done this. Sun 10 Aug 2008 15:27:26 GMT+1 solutionist The solution is simple, If a 'ticket holder' is not in their seat 15mins before the start (or dedicated time) the seat is sold/offered to those wanting one and waiting in a queue outside Sun 10 Aug 2008 14:02:34 GMT+1 jw2034 'Not really a surprise is it? Cronyism, elitism and favouritism alive and kicking, even in a communist country - who'd have thought!'------------------------------------------------------Cronyism, elitism and favouritism are what a communist country is all about. some animals more equal than others and all that. its the party stooges who sort out (read tout) tickets round sponsors and those with the deepest pockets. Sun 10 Aug 2008 13:21:42 GMT+1 lurch1875 it's a sad indicator of what is happening the world over - corporate cronies taking the tickets over the people who actually want to be there (the FA cup final being a prime example).if the governing bodies are happy to take the money from the sponsors, they have to take the lack of physical support at their events.i expected China to be different, with scores of well drilled school children and volunteers filling every venue, and it's actually quite sad this isn't the case.shame on the fat-cats for taking the Games away from the people Sun 10 Aug 2008 12:12:41 GMT+1 JanEaton Have just returned from Beijing - the day after the opening ceremony! We went to Tianjin (without tickets) assuming the ground wouldn't be full for the opening game in the Ladies Football. We weren't allowed within 400m of the stadium and eventually a young Chinese girl helped us out by asking someone who produced tickets for us with an £8 mark up on a £3 ticket! The stadium had 23 000 people in it - capacity 50 000! We witnessed many Chinese people being turned away, as we were. I guess they couldn't afford the mark up prices. Very sad.Earlier, a guide for a cycling trip to the Great Wall had spare Athletic tickets which he had spent 2 days queuing for - just to sell! Many locals simply cannot afford to go to the games. Sun 10 Aug 2008 12:09:22 GMT+1 locohero Not really a surprise is it? Cronyism, elitism and favouritism alive and kicking, even in a communist country - who'd have thought! Sun 10 Aug 2008 11:58:04 GMT+1