BBC BLOGS - David Bond
« Previous | Main | Next »

Those empty seats: Is there a solution?

Post categories:

David Bond | 17:24 UK time, Sunday, 29 July 2012

For the members of the public who tried in vain to get Olympic tickets during the various ballots, the sight of empty seats on television after the first full day of competition must be baffling and irritating in the extreme.

London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe insists it won't be an issue throughout the Games but adds that he totally understands people's frustrations and is working hard to ensure the seats are filled.

So why are there empty seats?

Locog says the seating areas are not for general members of the public or for sponsors but are set aside for accredited members of the so-called Olympic family. This includes International Olympic Committee members and officials, representatives from international sports federations and national Olympic committees, athletes, coaches and team officials and, not forgetting us, the media.

Empty seats at an Olympic dressage event

Shots of empty seats being beamed around the world are frustrating for Locog. Photo: AFP

The biggest accredited group - after the media - are the international sports federations and it is understood Lord Coe and Locog will have some frank discussions with the federations about why the seats are not being filled.

And, says Coe, if federations aren't going to take up their allocation then there are plans to ensure they are filled so there are no longer shots of empty banks of seats being beamed around the world.

The difficulty is that even if the federations now say they don't need as many seats, the empty spaces are in specifically accredited areas where tickets can't be sold to members of the public. That restricts Locog's options, although it could potentially reduce the size of the accredited areas and sell some of the tickets - as it did with the gymnastics at the North Greenwich Arena on Saturday.

Giving the seats to pre-accredited groups of teachers and students from east London is one option. Another is to give the seats to off-duty members of the military who are already in the park as part of the huge venue security operation.

But that does not help get more tickets at cheap prices into the hands of ordinary people who felt they missed out.

There are still tickets for events being released regularly on the London 2012 website, and they are being snapped up almost immediately.

Locog says there are around 100,000 to 120,000 non-football tickets still to go on sale, as well as another 200,000 football tickets. To have so many tickets still on sale might surprise many people - especially now the Games are under way.

What's interesting about all this is that four years ago in Beijing, the Chinese organisers had exactly the same problem. When it became clear that TV images of empty seats were playing badly around the world, they rushed in yellow shirted volunteers to fill them.

No one would begrudge members of the military being rewarded for their commitment to the Olympics by getting to watch a bit of the action. But critics might ask: what's the difference between what the Chinese did and filling empty seats in London with soldiers or local students?

After one day of full competition it seems way too soon to be criticising Locog for the empty seats. The public seating areas do seem to be packed, even though the pictures on TV from gymnastics, beach volleyball, indoor volleyball, canoeing and the tennis at Wimbledon tell a different story.

The sponsors were keen to confirm the empty seats were not their doing, P&G, Visa, McDonald's and Coca-Cola all putting out statements on Sunday making it clear they were filling their allocations with winners of competitions, partners, customers and employees.

But ticketing remains an extremely sensitive area for Locog. And if the empty seats continue into a third or fourth day without being properly resolved, then Coe and Locog may find they need to do more than simply have a few frank conversations with members of the Olympic family.


Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    This is what happens when you sell your soul to the IOC,

  • Comment number 2.

    For all subsequent Olympics, these kind of seats should be allocated to a named person. IF they cannot identify a named person for the seat 1 month before the games start, the ticket should automatically be re-allocated to be available for sale to the public. This way the seating area for this kind of tickets would be the right size, and 1 month is enough to ensure that the security is right.

  • Comment number 3.

    I expected this to happen

  • Comment number 4.

    100% of ticket should be available to the general public. None should be given for free or to vips or competitions.

  • Comment number 5.

    If the seats are not filled within 20 mins at the start of the game, then Locog should give the seats to the people waiting at the gate. Exactly that and no refund.

  • Comment number 6.

    As my kids used to say to me in their early teens "DUH Dad....".

    This is a real easy one to solve. Put a corporate *name* on each of the non-sold seats (yes, even for your's, media types - you should also justify your empty seats) and then it's extremely obvious who the negative publicity belongs to...

  • Comment number 7.

    Locog must have known this was going to happen, and now they act like it's a big surprise. It happens at every Olympics because of the stipulations demanded by the IOC.

    This whole "shocked and disgusted" act is just that - an act.

  • Comment number 8.

    A blog entry that has had some half decent research done..

  • Comment number 9.

    Today, yet again, there are rows of empty seats at Olympic venues. At the very least please move the true passionate sports fans down from their poor vantage points into these front-line seats reserved for the ambivilent, privileged few. Not only does the sight of empty seats anger all those who were denied the chance to attend, but it spoils the spectacle and image of this great sports-loving island.

  • Comment number 10.

    People need to realise this is not LOCOG's fault - Games Lanes, logistics, ticketing and protocol all follow the IOC script which is replicated at every Olympic Games.

    That said I am extremely disappointed with the entire ticketing situation. It stinks of unfairness and has done from the very beginning, when first time appliers to the ballot were excluded from later rounds.

    Another example is the tickets that were allocated to schools through the Get Set network. Schools such as mine applied on the basis that they would receive tickets for an Olympic event. After waiting until June of this year, we were allocated only 8 tickets. How can a school organise and distribute such a pitiful amount of tickets? What made it worse was the fact they were for some non-entity of a football game at Old Trafford.

    I feel really let down by the entire situation and it has dampened the Olympic experience in my eyes. I am volunteering at Park Lane, and even there it seems our willingness to cater for this perception of an 'IOC family' is being taken for granted.

  • Comment number 11.

    The Olympics of London 2012 will be remembered in the UK as the Exclusive Games where normal people have been excluded from attending. Lord Coe says 75% of tickets have been sold to the general public. Statistical sleight of hand. How many tickets at affordable prices were made available to the public for the opening ceremony? Ticket scandal. 90% of Eton Dorny is EMPTY.. No trouble to allow the public general access to the first half of the course. Who cares? Clearly not Lord Coe

  • Comment number 12.

    The the problem in general is that their is a law in Uk which doesn't allow anybody to sell their tickets on platforms or on the street. It has been always the case that I travelled for example to Bejing and could buy tickets at the stadium or box offices. On the other hand the organisors have put the national olympic organisors to hand out the tickets to their memebers. But they don't have so many memebers to organise their trip to London and attend the games. Now we see the blame games of politicians and organisors who blame each other for the situation. It doesn't help all the fans who came to London and were hopping to get their tickets from touts on the street or the official tickets boxes. And their are so many sponsors, national olympic commities and travel agencies holding their tickets back and can't sell them to the fans because some "smart politicians" passed a law to make the games as miserable as they will be when they don't find any solution to this problem.

  • Comment number 13.

    Why is this such a big surprise? This happens every Olympics. Tickets are also way too expensive. Allow tickets to be openly traded like Wimbledon debentures - they'll all get sold at a fair price to people who actually want them.

  • Comment number 14.

    11.At 18:56 29th Jul 2012, CynicalNick wrote:
    The Olympics of London 2012 will be remembered in the UK as the Exclusive Games

    True and it should not come as a surprise. The UK is the centre for Corporate greed and trying to squeeze every penny out of the public.
    I expect those seats will be taken up when it comes to the "glamour" events and finals.

  • Comment number 15.

    the whole method of ticket allocation was done in such away that as usual once again the privilaged few got first choice and the rest of the population get the crumbs.

  • Comment number 16.

    It is such a shame to see so many empty seats when millions of people in the UK were left disappointed by the ticketing process.
    Even more disgraceful is that the athletes families weren't able to get enough tickets to support their relatives in action at the games and yet people who can't even be bothered to turn up have been allocated free tickets.
    It does not appear to be LOCOG's fault. Instead the finger needs to be pointed directly at the IOC and Jacque Rogge.
    It is not fair that these empty seats are now being filled by security forces during their break although this is a better solution than doing nothing, but it does not avoid the fact that the general public have been denied access to the games at the expense of 'the IOC family' who clearly have no interest in being there.

  • Comment number 17.

    The people in the back rows who have paid for their tickets should be moved forward and if the elusive "Olympic family" turn up they can sit in the back rows

  • Comment number 18.

    Seb Coe has certainly come down a peg or two in my estimation, he, like Boris Johnson cant take any constructive criticism at all, whether it be the Olympic lanes and the lack of information or the fact that empty seats have been noticed. The ticketing has been a shambles and the cost gives evidence of "Rip off Britain".

    What kind of legacy will this leave? A sporting one or one that proves that the IOC and Locog are no better than bankers and politicians?

  • Comment number 19.

    Is this really so complicated? All he needed to do was have 'seat fillers'. A group of people already accredited, who turn up to the park or other venue and sit in a nice marquee or something, watching events on screen, and when there's an empty seat they move into the venue. If someone more entitled to the seat turns up, they move back to the marquee. Simple! I'd do it! Nice chance to get great seats at a cheap price, and if you don't get in, you still have a nice place to watch it on TV and be part of the scene. No empty seats, happy fans and no griping. They manage to have no empty seats at the Oscars every year, would it be so hard to do something similar here?

  • Comment number 20.

    LOCOG use of term 'unticketed' misinterpreted by members of public - and information advisers at LOCOG
    Military drafted in to pose (badly) as spectators
    Women who breaches security, joining India at opening ceremony says "It was easier than getting a ticket"
    Lord Coe expected to be advised he has not been shortlisted to organise the Conservative Lords drinking day out at a beer production plant

  • Comment number 21.

    its an absolute disgrace. I have 3 young children who would love to see any athletics event. U cant tell me there will be 80,000 people for the 10000 metre steeplechase heats. I was registered from the beginning and thus far the only thing was £495 per ticket - Thats 2 grand for me & my children - Once in a lifetime "inspire a generation" - Yes a generation of complete eltism. Thank you Locock up from a London family

  • Comment number 22.

    On - 26 April 2011, Myself along with 2 family friends Submitted request for tickets 4 each (12 in all) for various sports Football, Swimming, Hockey, Basketball, Tennis and the total submission costed about 3-4k and we all anticipated we will get something or the other, but we got none and all the tickets I think went to "Coporate" and "Sponsors", So common man from the very begining did not had a chance to see the Olympics even if he was ready to spend.

    We 3 family have kids of under 11 and we are still trying for tickets almost every day on various site but as of now we have not been able to.

  • Comment number 23.

    I have tried so many times to get tickets, it is impossible, the Olympic website can't cope. But saying that when it seems tickets are available they're not.
    I feel so bad for my daughter, I have tried to get tickets for the swimming - that's is all that she wants to see as she is a swimmer and one of the top for her age. I thought having a home Olympics was to inspire our youth not disappoint them!

  • Comment number 24.

    Seeing all the empty seats at Greenwich Park both days so far - why can't there be a queue for returns / tickets put back into the mix as there is for every other event? SO frustrating never being able to get tickets in any application online - then seeing half the stadium empty.

  • Comment number 25.

    Coe says that 75% of the seats are sold to the general public and that the only problem with seats is in the areas accredited to sponsors, IOC and the media. If this were so, there should be fewer than 25% of the seats empty. In fact, many more seats are empty. Many, many more. This means, either that Coe is lying when he says that the public seating areas are packed or that he is lying when he says that 75% of seats have been given to the general public.

  • Comment number 26.

    What a load of hogwash. It happened in Beijing , Vancouver and now in London. Whether its sponsors, federations, past Olympian’s family and friends there’s ALWAYS an excuse. Empty seats, whatever the reason/excuse are a quite simply a disgrace.

    #5 has it right, no matter whose privileged backside is meant to be sitting there if the seat isn’t taken 10 minutes after the start then sell it for ten quid to a grateful public ... why ten pounds? Because if you ‘give’ it away the same thing will happen “it’s ‘only’ a qualifying, let’s wait for the final” type attitude happens. Charge a tenner and fill those seats with an appreciating public who will cherish the experience and the memory.

    Oh and BTW, give the ‘extra’ money raised to a local charity (now that’ll get the IOC wobbling!).

  • Comment number 27.

    Travelbear's suggestion is ace. Too late for 2012 though.
    I feel that despite original comments there will be no naming of those who do not use free tickets.
    If there had been a franker statement at the start of ticket sales giving the proportion of venues/events on sale for the public 45%, 50% or whatever, then there would have been greater understanding amongst folk that many would be disappointed and not able to buy tickets.

  • Comment number 28.

    The games are for the wealthy £13 for fish and chip that says it all, poor mans meal and you get ripped off with that, not even an healthy option. All these corporate tickets given away are those people going to pay tax on the gift maybe thats why they have stayed away. We don't all live in London and paid a London wage. Anyway with all the corruption and fraud in London at the moment best to stay away. I can't afford the petrol to even travel to the games let alone a ticket and fish & Chips

  • Comment number 29.

    Either Sebastian Coe is lying when he says that the Olympic venues are stuffed with people or what he means is that he is stuffing them with anyone he can drag in off the streets to fill the empty spaces. Either way he is misrepresenting the truth of the situation, which is all too plain for the world to see.

  • Comment number 30.

    Olympic ticketing? A complete and utter "coe-up" from the word go!! What it needs now is someone at the top (maybe a lord of the realm) to have the courage to admit it! some chance of that!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 31.

    Why can't the 'Olympic Family' have proles seated amongst them? Are we humble citizens too stupid, dirty, diseased or something?

  • Comment number 32.

    Maybe people just aren't as interested in the Olympic Games as the BBC propaganda wants us to believe? I think general disaffection in some parts of the country coupled with some of the highest transport prices in the world making it an arm and a leg to get there for the non-London dwelling Briton, have all led to this situation. As someone has rightly said above, if the "IOC Family" was to blame there would be a lot less empty seats that can be seen on every single one of the all-singing all-dancing special BBC Olympic channels, and that's assuming that none of these "family members" turned up.

  • Comment number 33.

    Personally, I think it's great that there are empty seats. This means less of the British public's money is going to mcDonalds, Coca-Cola, and all the other foreign sponsors.

  • Comment number 34.

    A simple solution: all tickets are sold/allocated with a clause in the terms and conditions which allows the ticket to be re-allocated if the seat is not taken 10 minutes before the event starts.

  • Comment number 35.

    If Coe does decide to resell any tickets after 30 minutes, can I make a suggestion. Have the resale point outside of the Olympic Park. Sell the tickets to those people outside - The majority inside already have tickets. If you don't, I can see a situation where a group of empty swimming seats are replaced by a group of empty basketball seats.

  • Comment number 36.

    If there is such a problem with re issuing these tickets due to them being in accredited areas why don't they open them to opening ceremony cast members who have all been accredited and security passed this would be a think you for the time and effort they put in over the last months. (I am not one of these people)

  • Comment number 37.

    So far we've had ticketing problem right from the off, a flag screw up, people with tickets missing a football match, travel problems, empty seats, a Welshman disgracefully called English and we've hardly started.
    Enter stage right, Alaister Campbell, the Wizard of Spin who will be able to tell us all what a marvelous job everyone is doing.
    1984 anyone?!

  • Comment number 38.

    I agree completely with comment No 5 except that those waiting should pay, say, £10 to go to charity. Its wrong to allow seats to stay empty.

  • Comment number 39.

    'between 100,000-120,000 non football tickets are still available'. Really? I have gone through almost every sport on the 2012 ticket site now and every time I try and go through to request tickets I am told that they are not available for one spurious reason or another - "they will go on sale after 15th June" being my favourite. Every event I have seen has so many empty seats yet there are people like me desperate to come to cheer people on. So so sad & frustrating.

  • Comment number 40.

    From today, Wimbledon style ticketing, please. Go to the venue. If lucky you get a ticket. Better to take a chance than online booking. Frustrating to see so many empty seats for events which you booked online. And the video and photos come from BBC, not third party.

  • Comment number 41.

    I can't afford them so am not 100% sure, but I assume the tickets are barcoded and therefore the admissions computer system knows who's entered any venue. If that's the case, it's a simple analytical job to figure out who is actually using the tickets that have been issued to them (either free or for a fee) because the system ought to know that Seat 19A belongs to Mrs Trellis from North Wales whilst Seat 1A belongs to McDonalds.

    This gives you some options.

    1) You can name and shame
    2) You can identify venues and times where there's olympic family over allocation, and release additional tickets to the fee paying public accordingly (which generates more revenue, something the government's usually brilliant at) - this fills up the seats.
    3) From the data, you can figure out at the next games how many seats the Olympic family REALLY needs, to minimise the problem of empty seats.

    It's not rocket science. Give me the data and I could provide an exec level breakdown within 60 minutes of who's staying away from where and when, it's quite straight forward.

  • Comment number 42.

    after three goes at logging on to a website over a long period of time and not getting any tickets we gave up.....I wanted to take my daughter to anything...we tried for boxing, fencing, archery .....we never got tickets to see a few empty seat after the way this has been hyped would be upsetting but to to see hundreds of empty more empty than full at LOTS OF EVENTS....well try explaining that to a nine year old why her dad didnt get her a ticket when its in her home would make a mock of the security to say first come first served but thats what THEY have to the doors and fill them seats with kids now...

  • Comment number 43.

    Rip the public off till it hurts, thats what the British are the best in the world for a Gold metal for that one!! If your a VIP or have money how many tickets and what seats would you like sir!

  • Comment number 44.

    Those empty seats are the picture of corruption. Grease the palms of "insiders" with special privilege, and the benefits to the public of the effort and investment of the community get squandered. The same phenomenon can be seen in pure economic corruption. Here, we simply see it thrust in our faces.

  • Comment number 45.

    YET AGAIN, Seb Coe is refusing to acknowledge that there is a problem, and shows misunderstanding of the public's anger. We don't care that empty seats are an embarrassment - we care that the best seats were denied to the public and given to a spoiled elite who don't even bother to turn up. Dragging staff in to hide this fact is not a fix. He may as well be filling them with mannequins!

  • Comment number 46.

    Since they went on sale I have tried a number of times to get tickets. Each and every time I have not had any luck at all. I have simply stopped trying. I think if I was offered a ticket now I would turn it down. Sick of the whole thing. This fiasco added to the Zil lanes just shows the attitude of the organisers to the host nation who's taxes have paid for most of this.

  • Comment number 47.

    We tried to get tickets for the tennis, and were unable to. To see a third empty centre court for a 'sold out event' is frustrating for us, and is an embarrassment for London 2012.

  • Comment number 48.

    There are far too many sensible comments on here for my liking. I'm off to bury my head in the sand with my chums. Yours smugly and indifferently, Seb C.

  • Comment number 49.

    Here's another thought why the seats are empty: No-one is interested in athletics. The tragedy is we, the taxpayers, foot the bill for this ridiculous Olympics fiasco- all while the IOC fat cats sit in their luxury Park Lane Hilton fortress. Deport the lot them and fill those seats!

  • Comment number 50.

    As a pensioner from the get-go I couldn't afford to apply for any sports tickets - they were priced way beyond my means. And for years I have felt completely disenfranchised from the Olympics in my OWN CITY. Then recently I found out about 'Olympic Park' only tickets at a price I could afford - £10. So as an ex-BA employee I'd love to see their Park Live exhibition. But are there any such tickets for sale for this spacious new park - NO!! Now I feel even more excluded.

  • Comment number 51.

    What a shame all those empty seats.

    What is the problem with selling/giving away the seats in accredited locations, are non "Olympic family members" going to pass on a dose of reality to the " accredited ones"?

  • Comment number 52.

    My wife and I just wanted 2 tickets to any Olympic event. we did everything on line as requested by Olympic organisers, but nothing. We are disgusted to see so many empty seats.
    We will watch free now on BBC, to hell with so called lord Coe promises of tickets.
    Keep it up BBC excellent coverage, we can rely on you to deliver.

  • Comment number 53.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 54.

    Give tickets to the volunteers... they're already accredited

  • Comment number 55.

    The whole system has been flawed and that is wholly evident now with the masses of empty seats and no contingency plan in place to fill them. As for availability: we applied for over £4,000 worth of tickets for a wide range of sports, competition stages and price tariffs on the basis that we might be lucky enough to get a pair for something. We got nothing whatsoever whilst others got everything they applied for. How is that a fair system when we're now looking at empty seats at the exact same sessions we wanted to be at? RUBBISH!

  • Comment number 56.

    We really wanted to go to the women's gymnastics as a family as we all love it and it would have been an unforgettable experience. Then, firstly, there was a limit of 4 per person in the first ballot ... so which grandchild would I have to leave behind? Then when more tickets were released they were so expensive I couldn't afford one, let alone 5.

    So now we have to try to watch our gymnasts on TV ... the few performances the OBS decided to show amongst the many American performances ... looking at rows of empty seats interspersed with many uncomfortable looking soldiers who look as though they'd rather be anywhere else.

  • Comment number 57.

    As someone who logged on 5 secs after tickets where available and spent 2 hours playing the game of trying to pay for tickets the system said were available it irks me no end to see empty seats. Listening to Seb Coe is just rubbing salt into the wound.

  • Comment number 58.

    Went to gymnastics at North Greenwich arena. Sad to see so many seats still empty, even in top tier. LOCOG sort it out now please.

  • Comment number 59.

    We were at the 9.30-12.40 gymnastics session at the 02. We counted around 300 empty seats in 3 distinct premium sections. Around 35 of these were taken by military personnel. We took photos all the way through of the session, to show that the majority of empty seats remained. We stayed at the o2 for the afternoon and watched the second session (2.45pm start GB team) on the big screen. Again - the same sections :113 to 118 with amazing views (by the beam and vault), remained empty in large blocks (and also one block diagonally opposite 112 - by the uneven bars). We spoke to the ticket box office manager (Colin Freeman) to see if we could purchase seats as we were desperate to be in the arena and see the event in person but his reply was effectively 'the computer says no' like a Little Britain sketch. He told us according the the computer all seats were allocated, even though they remained empty, and no one could over ride the computer! Both sessions had the same blocks clearly empty - why not sell the seats at a discount 30 minutes after the start, and move people in during one of the rotations (8 in each session). It is wasteful and shameful that the best seats stand empty. I have watched Seb Coe's interview today where he said all seats now full, and in gymnastics it was not the case that the stands were filled. Only the high stands were filled - the worst seats. The good seats on level 1 were 1/3 empty and I have the photos to prove it, all time stamped. I am a middle aged mum who was there with my 2 daughters (7 & 11) who are both gymnastics mad and no amount of persuading could convince the 02 event manager and ticket ofice manager to let us in for the afternoon session, despite the clearly empty seats.

  • Comment number 60.

    Difficult to see a solution whilst we have unaccountable bodies like the IOC ruling world sport. They have improved - i.e. they are no longer headed by an ex-minister of a fascist government and are not as blatantly corrupt as they used to be. But they still demand that the host country (i) imposes draconian measures to protect sponsors who benefit the IOC rather than the host, and (ii) set aside wast swathes of the best seats for their IOC chums, who often can't be bothered to attend.

    In short, they run the Olympics like their own private club, and not for the benefit of the world's sporting public.

  • Comment number 61.

    I like countless other fans, applied for many Olympic Tickets and got nothing. Now seeing all those empty seats makes me livid. I agree with many comments on here, I just hope this 'empty seat' fiasco can be sorted before it's too late.
    Lord Coe can say all he likes about venues being 'stuffed' but everytime I put the tv on to watch a bit of Olympics I see empty seats scattered throughout the areanas.
    Tick Tock Mr. Coe, what you going to do about it?

  • Comment number 62.

    Really enjoyed our time at an event today, however it was so disappointing to see such a huge number of seats empty. Whilst more fortunate than many, as Head of PE in a secondary school and my partner being a UEFA qualified football coach who volunteers on a weekly basis we were only able to get tickets for one event. However friends who have no connection to sport were able to see 3 to 4 different sports (through spending £10k), it is such a shame that the ticket issue tarnished what was an amazing achievement by London 2012. For these games to be a lasting legacy more money / recognition needs to be given to individuals that play a role in grass roots sport, not individuals who can buy their way to these events.

  • Comment number 63.

    The empty seats are an insult to every genuine supporter who tried, and failed, to get a seat. This must be sorted out now. I say "to hell with the IOC" and the so-called Olympic Family. If they cannot be bothered to turn up scrap the allocation and sell the seats at reasonable prices to the public. Who cares what the IOC say this is our Olympics we are paying for it and are entitled to watch it.

  • Comment number 64.

    I am appalled that seats are vacant. I am also not happy that Locog are saying that accredited seat cannot be sold to the public. Why not? Who are the people in charge of the London Olympic?...Locog is it not? Cannot they impliment ruling immediately to change such a 'law'? Those seat should be made available to the public. Filling them with guys who are in charge of security defeats the object of them being in the arena on security duties. The option of allowing teachers and pupils to fill seats presents a logistical problem. School is out. How would that work? Am sooo annoyed about this and further annoyed by Locog almost saying there is nothing they can do. Shame!

  • Comment number 65.

    If we'd sold all the tickets to the general public, the issue would not occur. Far too many of the tickets are hived off for sponsors, corporate hospitality, and the so-called Olympic family, which seems largely to comprise politicians , officials of dubious import, and a totally unnecessary quantity of media types - since they should be taking our coverage and if necessary adding commentary remotely.

  • Comment number 66.

    I live in West London, am a London council tax payer, who has paid towards the cost of the Games, yet I cannot get any tickets. I have been a sports and Olympic fan all my life, and it is appalling the Games for the first time in my life are in my home town and I can’t get any tickets. I applied in the first ballot, overbidding almost £3000 worth of tickets for my family and I, and got NONE. Then I applied again for the second ballot, still NONE.

    I tried ringing through to the customer services, it rings then after awhile just cuts you off. How is it fair or correct that Londoners who have paid for the Games can’t get tickets. And to see banks and banks of empty seats at numerous events is appalling.

    It is totally disgusting the way the ticket allocation has been done, and doesn’t make me feel any better to hear they may give them to local school kids. What about the UK fans of those sports and the London council tax payers. After all when the Games are over in West London we are not left with the benefit of any new stadia unlike those in the East of London.

    I have also over the last two days tried to buy more tickets where they show as available on the website, only when you click through the menu to book it and pay for them, it then says they are are no tickets available, what a useless ticket site.

    It’s a ticket fiasco.

  • Comment number 67.

    To - "59. At 20:42 29th Jul 2012, Happyandsmiling" - please send the photos to the media and/or put them onto the web..

  • Comment number 68.

    This is a sorry situation - but not uncommon. Tennis is my favorite sport and I go all over the world to watch the ATP. Invariably the lower seats are all reserved for the sponsors. At some venues they get placards showing which company gets the box of seats. And just like the Olympics, those seats are usually vacant during the day and even in the night until the big names play or the quarterfinals start. It's obvious too many seats are not allocated to the true fans. Sad. I think when Coe heard the word 'stuffed' he thought it was a question about his bank account...

  • Comment number 69.

    @ davidgh - the 10000m steeplechase? Good job you didn't win any tickets for it, yootherwise you would have been fleeced. There is no such event!

  • Comment number 70.

    3 of us last year tried to get tickets for various events including tennis, gymnastics and the opening ceremony (which we always knew would be unlikely). We tried not only the lowest priced tickets but more expensive tickets thinking that would help. NOT! None of us managed to get any tickets at all so you can imagine my children's dismay at seeing the empty seats at the gymnastics. Truly disgusting!

  • Comment number 71.

    "The difficulty is that even if the federations now say they don't need as many seats, the empty spaces are in specifically accredited areas where tickets can't be sold to members of the public."
    Why not? Because someone somewhere's written arule? NOT ACCEPTABLE. FILL THE SEATS!

  • Comment number 72.

    Mark J, not davidgh, sorry

  • Comment number 73.

    Dear Moderators. The BBC has lost the plot on these postings: (a) no other media outlet I know of has "wait while we moderate" rule, instead they poist immediately and moderate by objection; (b) you're the only outfit that posts most recent posts last. You need a review - urgently!

  • Comment number 74.

    I agree with suexten (17) I guess if I had tickets for and event that I'd paid £50/100 for not particularly great seats, I'd be a little dissappointed if Locog then sold seats cheap at the last minute for a great view. I would just move those already in seats forward to the empty visible ones and resell the ones at the back for a tenner.

  • Comment number 75.

    There may be more empty seats. At the hockey stadium this afternoon thr floor gave way causing five seats and the occupants to very nearly fall some distance. Very scary and very shocking. It was fixed by a man with a drill while the game was still on. We were on the row, my kids were very shocked and we left the stadium, did not feel safe at all!

  • Comment number 76.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 77.

    Never mind offering free tickets to teachers, we should making them available to members of the emergency services as well as the armed forces, especially to those who are attending the games and working 12 hour shifts on our behalf.

  • Comment number 78.

    Sad to see the show courts at Wimbledon with so many empty seats AELTC should have sorted out tennis tickets there would then have been chance for real fans to get a ticket by queuing on the day. We are witnessing rip off Britain at its worst.

  • Comment number 79.

    The best tickets are put aside in large numbers for sponsors and others (who don't want them), whilst the public (who does want them, and who the games are supposed to inspire) gets too few tickets in the worst parts of the venues. Is anybody really surprised?

  • Comment number 80.

    Finding it difficult to enjoy watching the Olympics as I feel so angry seeing empty seats. Really pleased to see soldiers at the gymnastics but they have about two seats each, even beach volley has gaps.....unforgivable

  • Comment number 81.

    we have heard a lot about who the seats could go too, what about the volunteers when off shift ! Especially those who arent at the main venues, im sure they would appreciate it and a nice thank you for the hard work they are putting in?

  • Comment number 82.

    If the seats are not taken within 30 minutes of the start of the event, they should be offered at the gate to the first person at the lowest price ie. £20

  • Comment number 83.

    What an absolute disgrace this is. Unfair on so many levels. Unfair to the local kids who have absolutely no hope of getting any tickets. Unfair to the millions who have spent hours trying in vain to negotiate Locog's barmy website and lastly so unfair to all the athletes who have trained their whole lives for this moment, to be denied because of corporate corruption is utterly galling. The BBC has a massive duty to highlight this, discuss it, show the empty seats, force those in power to be accountable to the people of Britain otherwise they will do absolutely nothing if there is no pressure. They are notin the least bit surprised and their phoney outrage/intentions to do anything are laughable. The BBC must channel the public's anger. Has there ever been a message board so united in anger and common sense. Something must be done!!!!!!!! AAAAAAGGGHHH!!!

  • Comment number 84.

    Don't hang around LOCOG. Make a decision re the empty seats. You need to be brave about this and not pussy-foot around.

  • Comment number 85.

    This makes me so angry. A few months ago we were hearing about how the British athletes were limited in the number of seats they could have for their families and here we are with huge gaps in the audiences, because the FREELOADERS are too hungover (yesterday probably or maybe even today) or whatever, to turn up. What an insult to all the athletes taking part

    How about the families and the supporters of the athletes being given some seats?

  • Comment number 86.

    Oh yes it is LOCOG's fault. They knew about all the terms and signed onto them.
    They have form, we were sold an Olympics on a £2bn cost, its currently over £9bn heading over the £10bn mark

    They have form on the legacy, the site will be full of tumbleweed in the next couple of years

    Also the sporting one, no evidence more people are taking sport up. The TDF had a bigger impact.

    Now its the kick in the teeth over ticketing, no one can get any and the establishment cannot even be bothered to turn up ..

  • Comment number 87.

    Watching Adlington get bronze and fantastic men's relay but on TV it is so QUIET at least 80% seats on one side of pool EMPTY

    What a shambles - NAME AND SHAME!

  • Comment number 88.

    Empty seats. No wonder, can't buy them even now on the ticket website. Even selecting an 'available' event still means no tickets can be purchased. Phone the ticket line, 'high call volumes' so you get cut off !!

  • Comment number 89.

    "the empty spaces are in specifically accredited areas where tickets can't be sold to members of the public"... We got the Queen to do a skit for the opening ceremony, we transformed the east end of London, built stadiums, railways, world class venues and an entire Olympic village. It isn't a case of "can't be sold", it's a case of pandering to the IOC. What a let down for true fans of sport, just open the doors and fill the seats.

  • Comment number 90.

    I tried for several months to get a ticket, any ticket to the games. I was not successful. I wanted to visit London and see the olympics. Watching these games on TV conducted to an near empty stadium is very upsetting. Why is this allowed when so many would pay to see the games, and bring more revenue to London. This needs to be investigated.

  • Comment number 91.

    Has it ever occurred to anyone that some Olympic sports are more interesting than others? Boxing is going to have more spectators than shooting, and so forth. People pick and choose. The article seems to be saying that every event, every stage should be jammed packed?

  • Comment number 92.

    Coe and the organisers should be ashamed of themselves. They have done the majority of British people wrong. Coe should do something about it before it is to late. In short this is a fiasco and a scandal.

  • Comment number 93.

    Ticketing has been a joke. Some get nothing while some bloke who applied for £11000 worth got all of it - then said he couldn't afford all that. And organisations putting together "added value" ticket packages with hotels transport etc have over-priced them so badly that they have only sold a fraction of them. And here we have huge numbers of empty seats, for events I applied for and got nothing.
    There are some aspects of the organisation of these Olympics which have been, simple, appalling. But ticketing and security have been the worst.

  • Comment number 94.

    Agree with issybusy #81 – let Games Maker volunteers take empty seats. And/or, randomly select seat numbers higher up and invite them to move down to the empty seats, in return for a donation e.g. to British Olympic Foundation or Help For Heroes.

  • Comment number 95.

    Come on, what's the surprise with the UK establishment running (ruining) the show for big bucks and the nobs.

  • Comment number 96.

    It's been really sad to see but it isn't LOCOG's fault it's the IOC and the so-called Olympic Family that are to blame. However this has been two games in a row now that this has happened. Hopefully in 4 years time the IOC will decide to look at this properly so the people of Brazil and Rio don't have to suffer in the same way. If their members don't want the tickets they should say so in good time so genuine fans get the opportunity to see the stars and experience the joy of the Olympics.

  • Comment number 97.

    Its not rocket science, surely they should announce that the public can queue, and if there are any seats not attended, the public are allowed in at a reduced price.

    This would ensure no empty seats, because people are willing to watch.

    \the only person to blame for this is Coe, no excuse to let seats stay empty during an entire event, when people outside would be willing to pay and watch.

  • Comment number 98.

    Surely if someone sponsors an event that means they must have bought the seats? One would hope at face value if they have done that and they have then not distributed the tickets what can you do? If i bought 20 tickets to an event and then didnt given them away or turn up there would be a similar problem.

  • Comment number 99.

    I can only assume Coe & Co. are not to blame, they presumably were compelled to give the IOC a certain number of tickets as part of the deal and these tickets were then passed on to Jacques Rogge's friends and are currently sitting unwanted in drawers, coat pockets or wherever because the recipients had something better to do or weren't really interested in going anyway. The fuss made by the general public so far will be as nothing if there are similarly blocks of empty seats at the Olympic stadium for the athletics next week.

  • Comment number 100.

    Just been to Olympics. Great day for whole family. Excellent atmosphere. Enjoy the great event. Tickets are available every day. We bought ours yesterday. Arena was almost full.


Page 1 of 2

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.