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Davos 2013: NBC boss backs touting to fill Olympic seats

Jeff Shell, chairman of NBC Universal International
Image caption Mr Shell says empty seats at London 2012 threatened to alienate Britons

Jeff Shell, chairman of NBC Universal International, has encouraged future Olympic Games to allow tickets to be resold at above their face prices.

Speaking at an event in Davos, he blamed the empty seats early in London 2012 on the organisers' clamp-down on so-called touts or scalpers.

"Sponsors hoarded tickets," he said, because they knew they would not be able to get any more during the Games.

"If they had allowed scalping the events would have been fuller."

Touting was illegal at London 2012, with a number of sellers of tickets being prosecuted.

NBC has owned the US broadcasting rights of the Summer Olympics since the 1988 event in Seoul, South Korea, and the Winter Olympics rights since 2002.

Two years ago it signed a reported $4.38bn deal with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to cover the 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020 events, in what was widely reported as the biggest TV rights deal in Games history.

Also speaking at the Davos event was Swiss president Ueli Maurer, who is trying to bring the 2022 Winter Olympics to Davos and St Moritz.

Mr Shell advised him: "If you get the games in 2022, allow scalping."

He had earlier said that the empty seats in the first week of the Games - which were seen at a number of events, including tennis, football, gymnastics and swimming - had threatened to alienate Britons who had been unable to get hold of tickets.

"That cast a stain on the event," he said.

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