BBC BLOGS - Roger Mosey
« Previous | Main | Next »

Just the ticket? Not for everyone

Post categories:

Roger Mosey | 13:30 UK time, Friday, 3 June 2011

The fog around Olympic tickets is blowing away. Most people now know whether they've got them or not and pretty much everywhere I've been this week the conversation has been about whether your bank account has been debited - and whether you struck lucky in the ballot.

The reason for this post is simply to let you continue the debate about whether the system was fair, and what you'd like to see happen next.

From the stories already on our website many people feel bruised by the process being an odd way round: debit made first and then you find out afterwards what you've got.

One of my own family members texted me to say the only way he could compute what he might have got from his mysteriously scaled down bid was if Locog were charging a £6 delivery fee - which indeed they are.

But it does seem somewhat brusque to have the email confirmation following so much later.

On the other hand, some of the responses this week give an indication of why the opposite way might not have worked.

People who wanted to go to judo in the morning, boxing in the afternoon and a swimming final in the evening are now understandably saying it's not really worth coming to London and booking hotels if they only got the judo prelims; and you can see that Locog could have risked a mass argument and attempts to trade already if the debits hadn't been made first.

London 2012 tickets launch on March 15, 2011

Millions wanted tickets when they went on sale in March but many have been left disappointed by the outcome

Locog have defended the process and it's impossible to please everyone when demand so massively exceeds supply. But I was struck by letters in today's newspapers about what's seen as some tough outcomes.

Rob Michaels in the Daily Mail asks: "One man has been allocated £11,000 of Olympic tickets. What kind of idiotic system awards this many tickets to one person, while millions of others miss out?"

And Brenda Kersting wrote to The Times (full version behind the paywall) after three of her young relatives got no tickets: "There are many ways to design an allocation process to avoid the 'free-for-all' that cause websites to crash when tickets are released.

"The starting point could have been an attempt to ensure the broadest possible distribution, with the aspiration that every applicant receives a couple of tickets; reserving a proportion of tickets for those actively involved in the sport they wish to see, perhaps through clubs or national sporting federations; or giving priority to young people whose enthusiasm and involvement are so important for the future.

"These methods would not please everyone, and would be more complex for the organisers, but they would be more justifiable than an approach that appears to reward the size of a bank balance or a willingness to gamble."

And it's an interesting thought made by some correspondents that if an applicant was successful in one ballot, maybe they shouldn't then go through to further ballots - though that then brings you back to the: "I only got tickets for the judo prelims" argument.

Anyway, over to you. If you got no tickets, will you try to take advantage of the priority in the next round?

Or if you only got a fraction, how much has this dented your anticipation of next year?

Locog always knew this part of the Olympic build-up would be about disappointment as well as delight, but we'd like to know how you feel about the balance they've achieved.


Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    I applied for 28 tickets and got none. I'd like to know how many tickets were allocated in the £20.12 bracket for those events that they were made available, and how many were allocated for children's tickets. I'd also like to know what proportion of the tickets for each event were actually made available in the ballot. Until this information is available, how can anyone tell if it is fair or not?
    My journey to and from work goes through the Olympic site so I am going to have to put up with even more overcrowded Tube trains for the duration, my council tax has been higher to pay for the Olympics, but it seems I am not going to get the chance to enjoy the event unless I pay through the nose.

  • Comment number 2.

    LOCOG were constantly stating that you should apply within your means. Thousands of people applied for tickets well outside their means, banking on their belief that there would be so many applications that they'd only get 10-20% of what they applied for. This is exactly what happened. Therefore, by and large, the sensible people who took LOCOG's advice and applied within their means have got nothing or next to nothing while those who disregarded advice and played the 'risky' game are those who have been rewarded.

  • Comment number 3.

    My honest opinion is that all the different feedback indicates the spread was fair - people were bound to miss out on some or all of their allocation such was the demand.

    Brenda Kirsting's idea listed above is interesting, but would probably have caused the same problem rugby fans have getting tickets for the Six Nations, especially England home games at Twickenham.

    I write has someone who staked collectively over £1200 on tickets and won less than a third of them. I'm delighted to have had that - many more in my position are too. There has to be an acceptance that no-one has a given right to tickets.

    I have sympathy for residents of Newham (the Olympic borough) and to a lesser degree associations of sports represented in the games up-and-down the land. But very few critics of the system used by LOCOG have actually suggested a foolproof, end-to-end solution that would address all the criticisms raised by applicants.

    There will be the Second Chance sale, there are international resellers, there are event packages from Thomas Cook and there will be the ticket exchange system just before the games. Folk need to examine some of their arguments and perhaps draw their fire away from LOCOG and towards one another.

    | I have written more on the journey toward getting tickets for the London Olympics on my blog: |

  • Comment number 4.

    Managed to get myself a pair of bronze medal Men's football tickets in Cardiff. But was still left disappointed as really want to be at the heart of it at the Olympic Park, but failed to get any tickets there.

  • Comment number 5.

    I have to take issue with the Daily Mail quote (not exactly the first time I've said that in my life) - "One man has been allocated £11,000 of Olympic tickets. What kind of idiotic system awards this many tickets to one person, while millions of others miss out?"

    Erm... a ballot? Or to call it something else - a lottery. What "idiotic process" awards millions of pounds to one person and nothing to thousands of other participants? The lottery.

    The system wasn't very well designed, and the lottery element and the whole 'pay without knowing what you're paying for' deterred me from applying for anything. But you cannot criticise the organisers for not letting people know what they were getting themselves into... and it's nonsense to call the system unfair.

    Why do we give so much time and weight to the sour grapes of the losers in a game, and why do we pretend their complaints are anything else than that?

  • Comment number 6.

    I applied for the four tickets we really wanted (mixed price ranges) and which we felt we could afford. 2 in the velodrome and 2 for non-final athletics. Of course we received none.
    Now we hear stories about people applying for thousands of £s worth of tickets who have received a percentage of those they applied for. Personally I have no interest in watching weightlifting, judo, football or any of the other things which are likely to be available in the 2nd ballot for those of us who lost out in the first.
    I have lived in London for over 30 years and my husband is a Londoner. We therefore felt that London 2012 was in a very small way, our Olympic games, a once in a lifetime opportunity to see sport on such a scale in our city. However, for many thousands of Londoners, who are being asked to pay more than most towards the cost of the games, it will be the preserve of rich and/or well-connected people.

  • Comment number 7.

    People aren't complaining because they have sour grapes - "losers in a game". Surely we don't want trying to get tickets for the Olympics - the people's games as they have been touted - as a game? A lottery you enter by choice, sadly for UK residents unaware they could get tickets via German and other sites - we had no choice but to enter a lottery!!

    I applied for 11 events - four tickets for each and got nothing. My brother, best friend and her boyfriend also did the same in the hope that one of us would get something - none of us did. Obviously we were very unlucky but when you read about some people getting everything they applied for and others getting a third you do wonder if perhaps, as others have suggested, that those lucky enough to get tickets could have someone how been put to the back of the ballot for other events. I appreciate you can't please everyone but the system does not seem transparent at all and judging by twitter, friends and comments on here at best the majority of people got 10% of what they wanted and at worse nothing. So where did all the tickets go or were we always fooling ourselves?

    I was lucky enough to be in Sydney for the Olymics in 2000 and got tickets for both the Olympics and the ParaOlympics with out too much hassle.

    This rather bizarre and non-transparent system has been rather embarrasing! We are told the tickets are all gone yet people are still reporting on twitter debits going through yesterday and today - and people with children seem to be saying they suspect they were penalised for applying for concessions.

    I think people just want a clue as to what went on and how so many people just didnt get at all? Seems a lot higher than the 1 in 7 it was claimed!!

    The comments from people who opted out of buying tickets don't help. People are not sore losers - this is a once in a lifetime event that people want to be involved in! To dismiss their views and questions over the system as sour grapes is rather short sighted!!

  • Comment number 8.

    Re: Rob Michaels in the Daily Mail asks: "One man has been allocated £11,000 of Olympic tickets. What kind of idiotic system awards this many tickets to one person, while millions of others miss out?"

    This many tickets??? How does he know what £11000 equates to. I suspect, like the usual DailyMailReactionist, he doesnt have a clue what he's on about.

    The person he's referring to, Steve the Insolvency expert, who requested £36,000 worth, strongly suspects that out of the 20 events he applied for, he has only got tickets for 4 events. 4 out of 20! That is 20% or in monetary terms (£11k/36k), 30%. Which is admittedly better than the average 10-15% success ratio.

    All he has done is request a load of some of the most expensive tickets.

    He calculated the odds, weighed up the risk and gambled. Like a lot of us. I really don't see the big deal. If he can afford the expensive tickets, good luck to him.

    I requested £3.3k worth, but was happy only to pay 1k worth, but reckoned that i wouldnt get everything and gambled accordingly, hoping for at least 20-30%. I got only £260 - 8% worth. But that's alot more than the estimated 250k who got ZERO.

    Remember is was RANDOM ballot in a lot of cases. A friend of mine only applied for 2 events - 1x tennis session (semi-final) and the hottest ticket in town, the 100m Athletics session, but only the £50 tickets. He thinks he has got the 100m tix going debit made. 50% success for him, £100 cost, and something like a 100/1 - 50/1 chance of success. #LUCK OF THE DRAW :-)

  • Comment number 9.

    The very obscure system seems to have led to a lot of unrealistic expectations. And the long gap increased the disappointment. Applicants were asked what sports they were interested in. Was this information used? And why offer the sports where the site/draw was unknown? I think there will be lots of swapping going on-though it took time before we were told that would be possible.

  • Comment number 10.

    Additionally, while an ESTAIMTED 250,000 applicants have lost out this time around, that is about 14% of the total number of applicants @ 1.8million.

    I guess a headlines of

    "86% success rate for London 2012 tickets !!!!"
    "6 out of 7 succeed in getting London 2012 tickets!!! "

    arent very sexy are they?

  • Comment number 11.

    I got 2 or 3 of the 15 tickets I asked for. Not happy but not massively angry. More annoyed that apparently there are many tickets in the second round for the sports that I requested, hockey, basketball, handball etc. What it seems is that those sports weren't over subscribed, rather the price bands were.
    So many people went for the cheap tickets, after all we were told, 'you can go to the Olympics for £20'. But what if we'd at least known the number of seats in each price band, never mind about where you'd sit, but just the number available to us. If you could have paid an extra £20 to have a chance at 5 times the number of tickets how many people would have done that? I would have. But I didn't know and so I didn't want to risk pushing the potential bill up even higher.
    So I got £100 out of £705 I wanted.
    There are many sports, fencing in my case that I would like to see but not on it's own, it's not worth the travelling just for one event, especially when some sessions only last an hour and a half.
    I am hoping to get some dregs from the remains of the second round, keep an eye open for the resales in April and try and win some some tickets in the many competitions the sponsors are already running.

    PS Anyone seen the price of the paralympic tickets? £10-£15 max! And £10 day tickets! It's like they don't think anyone would want to go.

  • Comment number 12.

    Am I happy? I'm on the fence. I bid for 34 sessions totaling £3500 and got between 6 and 9 totalling £431. I doubt I've got into the Olympic Stadium and I've definitely missed out on my favored event, swimming. I intended taking my 2 young sons (6 and 4) for inspiration and so they can tell there children 'We was there'. They will get to do that but it will be the 'back up' events that they will be seeing. Like most who put too much thought into it I went for the Handball, wrestling etc 'just in case!' and i guess i'm reasonably pleased I did. I worked out with a bit of belt tightening here and there and a 0% credit card we could go for a max of £3500.
    But now i see that if i could afford £35000 i could go and buy an athletics, cycling or sickeningly a swimming ticket from Thomas cook or the other provider. So this, along with the government buying a few thousand tickets, sponsors a few thousand more and the VIPS handed them without a care makes this as far from a 'Games for the people' as possible and more like a Games for the Rich, famous and their corporate buddies! I'd rather have had a capped system where by you can either A) Only be allowed to bid for a total of something like £2000 per household (means they would have had to put sensible prices on them opening ceremony tickets!) or B) you could only bid for 1 price category per household, leaving the rich the 'silly' priced tickets and the rest a fair go at the more sensibly priced (sounds a bit like sitting in order of social class though?) the other rule i would add to that is that each sport is put in to a likely popularity group and you HAD to bid for a set of tickets in each group (say 10 groups, 1 being Athletics, swimming and cycling down to 10 being table tennis etc)

  • Comment number 13.

    Not only have my taxes paid for an event I don't get to see, but I can't even pay over the odds stupid ticket prices (with a ridiculous ticketing concept) to get that opportunity. The closest I'll ever get to seeing (or using) any of the facilities my taxes paid for is on TV. To be honest, the whole thing has put me off.

  • Comment number 14.

    I applied for what I wanted and did not get them - fair enough. I have friends though who applied for up to 10 events and got nothing. Then we read about people who have a lot of tickets and are concerned about paying for them.

    This is rediculous. The plan should have been that as many people as possible get to see something, so that those who applied for lots got maybe one or two events, allowing those who applied for fewer events (worried perhaps they could not pay the full bill) a better chance of getting something.

    If this was politics, the person(s) responsible would have no choice other than to realise their position was untenable.

  • Comment number 15.

    We decided to apply for tickets for the opening ceremony, the cheapest tickets £20.12. And the money has been taken from our account, so look's like we are going.
    They should have put a cap on the amount of money you could spend, or the number of tickets overall you could have, not just the number of tickets you could apply for in each event.
    What they should also do to make sure the seats are full, is to allow all the school's and the cub's, scouts, brownies and guide packs in the area the chance of watching events for free, any corporate tickets not used should be given to them.

  • Comment number 16.

    The betting process has been farcical. Overlooking the usual hyperbole that The Daily Mail put out (how many times have I said that!) the system has encouraged people to spend beyond their means to secure tickets - replace tickets with houses and you get what caused the economic downturn.

    I would like to know how many tickets are being held back for companies, sponsors and "executives" as well as government officials and I reckon a fair chunk will go to foreign ambassadors

  • Comment number 17.

    Living up North and with a family of 5 we applied for three events and sadly got none. I understand that in a lottery there are winners and losers but my main problem with the system is the lack of transparency. I have no real idea how many kids tickets were available or even if the allocation algorithm was fair for larger requests. If I had more information maybe we would have applied for at least one higher price event.

  • Comment number 18.

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

  • Comment number 19.

    Never mind 14% losing out - of all the people I know who applied, only about 14% have got any tickets at all! 2 people I know each received one pair of tickets to one session (they don't know for sure what yet) while the rest of us got nothing. Maybe that was because none of us went crazy gambling huge amounts of money, only what we thought we could genuinely spend. Ballots are meant to make things fairer for everyone, but having no upper limit to the ££ you could gamble meant that people with the most money also had the most opportunity. I feel that 20 sessions per person was too much to allow people to go for and has distorted the ballot.

  • Comment number 20.

    We were excited as a family when we sat down to plan our ticket application. All 5 members studied the newspaper pull out and decided what we wanted to see. We even strayed from the cheapest price now and again to increase our chances of success. Football @ Wembley, Basketball, Diving, Tennis @ Wimbledon, Table Tennis, Swimming, Gymnastics etc, etc. £2,300 worth. Might get a £1,000. Maybe £500. What have we got .......£66 pounds worth which is probably x2 £30 tickets. Why did the organisers sell the "all sit down together as a family" line when SURELY, they knew that success would be very limited. Consequently, we have lost interest as it's not worth having just two tickets, whatever the sport is. It's very, very gutting.

  • Comment number 21.

    Fully accept the ballot system for over-subscribed sessions but still hugely disappointed to miss out on this once in a lifetime event. My concern is whether the ballots worked properly - I had a max allocation of £1,100 spread over multiple sports, sessions and price bands and yet I received nothing.

    I understand I may get unlucky in the velodrome but nothing for the preliminary rounds of the Hockey or Badminton? It would be easy for the organisers to pinpoint exactly which sessions/price bands were oversubscribed - if all of my selections were then I'd accept I was just unlucky. It just feels strange that I know so many others who received nothing.

    My gut feeling is that when I get invited to apply for tickets in the losers' "exclusive selling period" I'll be offered some sessions that I'd already applied for.

  • Comment number 22.

    I have been lucky to get a 100% success rate - but then again I only applied for 2 tickets to one day of the sailing as that is what my husband really wanted to see. We made the decision to only apply for the one event and if we got it great - otherwise we were quite happy not to. Of course now we have to sort out accommodation but such is life.

  • Comment number 23.

    I was one of the sensible majority who applied for the tickets that they actually wanted, but have ended up being totally disappointed. Meanwhile, the BBC publicises the greedy few who have gobbled up whole tranches, presumably with the aim of cashing in financially. A process that started off involving the whole country in the Olympic Spirit, has wound up causing widespread disillusionment. Locog has really shot itself in the foot here.

  • Comment number 24.

    What people fail to consider is that just as many (or perhaps more) people would have missed out if a 'standard' first come first served basis had been used for ticket sales. Personally, I followed advice and only applied for events that I really wanted to see, and which I could afford if I got a 100% allocation. I was lucky enough to get 30% (value wise at least) but am itching to know whether I got the child tickets I applied for. In my mind they were the most important. I suspect not as they were priced on age and thus less financially viable for the organisers.

  • Comment number 25.

    SuperSonic - Why was it farcical? To you and others who rail against the process, please suggest a better process?
    As for saying "the system has encouraged people to spend beyond their means to secure tickets" - grow up! No-one can force you to spend your money: if you don't have it and can't afford it, then don't apply for that much expense!

    Richard (20): "Why did the organisers sell the "all sit down together as a family" line when SURELY, they knew that success would be very limited. Consequently, we have lost interest as it's not worth having just two tickets, whatever the sport is."

    Then don't apply for just two tickets? Of course, it's not ideal, and maybe you couldn't afford 4 tickets for whatever that event was, but you have now put yourself in a difficult position. You, not the organisers.
    The organisers DID know the success will be limited - and *surely* you must have known the same. Use your common sense, eh?

    In my opinion, the process was about as good as it could have been, considering all the potential problems. Whatever you do, someone will moan. A ballot is fair. With 1.8million people applying, there's a good chance some people will hit the jackpot and others will miss out. *shrug*

    I applied for some £1332 of tickets (amusingly, the cost for each of my girlfriend and I was £666 each), and we have won (I like that phrasing) £376 worth: 2 tickets for the middle price category. It was difficult to decide exactly what we wanted, (lower price band = worse seats and less liklihood of winning [?]) and without knowing exactly the number of tickets available. But there you go.

  • Comment number 26.

    Peter White 23: "I was one of the sensible majority who applied for the tickets that they actually wanted, but have ended up being totally disappointed.. A process that started off involving the whole country in the Olympic Spirit, has wound up causing widespread disillusionment. Locog has really shot itself in the foot here."

    It's pretty harsh on LOCOG that they are penalised somehow for the presumed failure of a fair ballot due to peoples' own short-sightedness or ignorance, no?

    Like you, I only applied for tickets I wanted. And the max amount I applied for was what I could afford - didn't do a "well we'll probably get less than half so we'll apply for double what we can really afford. And I didn't get many tickets (but some). Being sensible can suck.

    BUT, you (and I) had the choice: apply for loads and risk getting shafted if - in the highly unlikely event - you have to pay for them all. Or be sensible and be more likely to be disappointed. Tough choice, no doubt. But there you go. Make your choice and live with it.

  • Comment number 27.

    People are forgetting the power of the vocal minority, here. To say that because people have heard so many stories about people getting nothing means that the 14% figure must be a lie is to forget that there are probably plenty of people quietly satisfied with their result. And most of the hard luck stories are of people who got 1 or 2 out of many tickets they applied for - thus aren't included in the 14%.

    I happen to think the system was poor, unattractive to the average punter and, it seems, less than transparent. But think of it from the organisers' point of view - what was the alternative? First come first serve, crashing websites, taking up whole hours of people's time, the stress of it all... and the unfairness on those who can't sit at home or at their desk?

    The system they used was unsatisfactory, yes, but unfair?

  • Comment number 28.

    I for one am VERY pleased with the way tickets went.
    I didnt apply, didnt get any, do not feel disapointed, but will be able to watch EVERYTHING from the comfort of my sofa.
    I will however, be looking to get tickets for the Paralympics. I feel these athletes deserve more recognition than they get currently.

  • Comment number 29.

    As someone who has relative that hopes to compete I think it unbelievable that his family has to go through the same procedure to get tickets - of course they didn't get any and if they had, they probably would have got tickets for something they didn't have an interest in. How is this supposed to attract the stars of tomorrow.

  • Comment number 30.

    My parents, my brother, sister and I all applied for tickets for the Olympics and have been utterly disappointed. My mum and dad applied for two identical lots of five tickets for the athletics finals and track cycling to double our changes as well as separate twos and threes for dressage, gymnastics and swimming. My siblings and I all spend as much as we could afford to have taken on tickets for the same events as well as beach volleyball and boxing. Despite all of this only my brother was successful with one ticket. For a family of sport lovers who live in London (many of the events we applied for are within five minutes of our house) this is a disgraceful result. Something could have been done by LOCOG to ensure that a family living at the same address receive enough tickets for each member to see something. Another injustice is the fact that we could not afford to gamble large sums of money on a massive quantity of tickets to ensure a small return, we rationally planned between us who was going to buy which tickets on which days to avoid clashes on the hope that we would each receive something. Our only chance now is for the four of us who were unsuccessful to attempt again for second chance tickets, although the chance that there will be the events we want to see is very slight. Overall this lottery system has taken away much of my enthusiasm for the Olympics, as it is probably the only chance I will have to see it in my life as it's being held in the hometown I love so much. Not that it will stop me watching events on television, but being able to say 'I was there' to grandchildren is now something I will not able to do.

  • Comment number 31.

    I can't understand why LOCOG didn't adopt a system similar to that when the Tory government was privatising everything (e.g. utilities, railway etc.). There the process was:

    1. You worked out how many shares you wanted and could afford
    2. You then applied and sent a cheque off for the full amount
    3. Allocation of shares then decided
    4. Shares given out and any unused money returned to the applicant.

    I seem to recall people having a bit of a moan about getting small numbers of shares but I don't recall the fairness or the integrity of the process being challenged.

    Allowing people to apply for a colossal number of tickets and then giving them the option of not going through with the transaction with no penalties incurred (simply by not having funds in a particular account on certain dates) is madness. There is also a get out of jail card for people changing their minds later by allowing them to sell back tickets not wanted at no cost (other than the interest lost in holding the tickets until 2012, but in this low interest rate environment that amounts to very little). And I have very little sympathy for people incurring credit card charges for holding the tickets until then anyway.

    Imagine the mayhem it would cause if Ebay operated like this. Everyone just bidding massive amounts and then if they like the amount of the winning bid they pay for it (with the option of changing their minds in 9 months time and selling it back for the amount paid) and if they don't like the amount of the winning bid then they just take the money out their accounts and the transaction is cancelled and they can walk away with a clear conscience.

    I can't see that business model lasting long.

  • Comment number 32.

    I agree that any system would have losers and winners. However, what struck me as very odd and unprofessional from LOCOG was the lack of information and clarity. It was ridiculous that James Pearce (one of your excellent BBC correspondents) had to take on the role of advising, counselling and keeping people informed through his twitter page. He did a brilliant and fabulous job, but that job should have been done by LOCOG.

  • Comment number 33.

    A better system would have been:
    (1) one that didn't allow individuals to apply for as many as 20 sessions with multiple tickets per session, thereby giving the wealthy a much better chance of striking lucky in the ballot than the poor (the whole purpose of a ballot being to make things random and fair);
    (2) one where the number of tickets available at each price level for each session was made clear up front, to enable people to make informed decisions about what to go for. If you are running a ballot then you must know these numbers or, err, you can't run the ballot! So why the secrecy?

  • Comment number 34.

    I got one set of tickets, which surprised me because I went for several sessions that I thought would probably be less popular.

    But I think it would have been a good idea to add an extra level to the ticketing. The process was probably as fair as it could have been, but there are ways in which it could have been made better.

    If, for example, I wanted to go to see some weightlifting but didn't care which session, I could say, well if I don't get Saturday night, put me in for Friday. And if I don't get Friday or Saturday, put me in for Thursday. That way I would be more likely to get the tickets I wanted without having to gamble large amounts of money and risk getting lots of tickets I didn't want. It wouldn't have been particularly tricky to do technically, LOCOG would probably have seen more actual sales and I believe there would be fewer people disappointed now.

  • Comment number 35.

    31 map1mh:

    1. You worked out how many tickets you wanted and could afford
    2. You then applied and sent a cheque off for the full amount
    3. Allocation of tickets then decided
    4. Tickets given out and any unused money returned to the applicant.

    So your point was..? Just use a cheque! :)

    "Allowing people to apply for a colossal number of tickets and then giving them the option of not going through with the transaction with no penalties incurred
    is madness."
    If they don't go through with it due to lack of funds, their application is completely removed and the tickets are reallocated to others. How is that madness?

    "There is also a get out of jail card for people changing their minds later by allowing them to sell back tickets not wanted at no cost."

    I'm confused - surely this must be a good thing?

    "And I have very little sympathy for people incurring credit card charges for holding the tickets until then anyway."

    "Imagine the mayhem it would cause if Ebay operated like this.."
    Except your analogy is nonsense.

    If you don't have the money, you don't get the tickets. They are reallocated. That's (presumably) why the process *could* take up to 10 June. It's not that you can change your mind (well you can, but you lose all your tickets).

    It's not about "liking" the final amount. You apply for it, if you win the ballot, you pay for it. If you can't, you lose the tickets. Someone else can have them. What's the problem?

    As for re-selling - if you buy something off Ebay you can re-sell it on Ebay anyway! So what's your point?

    As a genuine question, what happens on EBay if you bid too much and can't pay for it? Are you suggesting a similar thing should have happened here?
    What other system do you suggest?

  • Comment number 36.

    #1 has summed this up perfectly. I would like a declaration from LOCOG that they didn't calculate the amount of tickets in each category after finding out how much everyone was prepared to pay. Until we get that, who knows if it was fair? PS If anyone thinks they (locog) didnt wait to see how much people were prepared to pay before allocating the tickets in each category they want their bumps felt!! My status : applied for £4,500, got £706.

  • Comment number 37.


    (2) Agreed. (I do like some of the conspiracy theories about this :-))

    (1) The ballot *itself* is fair.

    Isn't the National lottery is the same? If you can afford 100 tickets you have 100x the chance of winning compared to 1 ticket? If you can afford to apply for £30,000 of tickets, you're more likely to win. (Well, you're probably not per ticket, but overall).

    It's a bit of an exaggeration, but people have made the point before that you don't complain that a Porsche's price precludes the poor from having one? Would it really be feasible to have a system where the rich weren't "advantaged"? I'm not sure.

    And anyway, tickets were already limited: again, no-one can win. Family of 5+? Can't all go to major finals since the limit is 4. Raise ticket limits? Rich people block buy the tickets. I think a cap of 4 is probably the best they could have done.

  • Comment number 38.

    The lack of clarity around the number of tickets available at certain price points does lend itself to distrust of the system. I recall reading something about the Sydney Olympics where it turned out there were only 14 tickets available to the public at the lowest price level for a particular event. We will wait and see if we're ever told what the available ticket numbers are for all events in London.

  • Comment number 39.

    @36: This only works if the number of higher band seats has been artificially increased. It would be very interesting to see the reaction if, upon getting to the arena, you see that 50% of all seats are price AA or A, and only 5% D. And guess what, they *just* had enough applicants to fill that highest price band - how convenient! Somehow doubt that will happen.. but I suppose it's possible we shan't know.

  • Comment number 40.

    35. grtayif

    1. You worked out how many tickets you wanted and could afford
    2. You then applied and sent a cheque off for the full amount
    3. Allocation of tickets then decided
    4. Tickets given out and any unused money returned to the applicant.

    So your point was..? Just use a cheque! :)

    No, still use cc or debit card. The point was that you have to stump up the money for all the tickets you apply for. In the case of the chap who applied for £36k who wanted £5k of tickets (from the reports I read), do you think he would have put up £36k at the start or £5k. I believe the latter and given that he got £11k of tickets under the actual system there would have been an extra £6k of tickets in the ballot for other people under my system.

    Example: ballot closes on April 26; payment taken on this date from all applicants for full amout; LOCOG work out the allocation over the next week, and then send out confirmation of tickets and refunds then.

    "Allowing people to apply for a colossal number of tickets and then giving them the option of not going through with the transaction with no penalties incurred
    is madness."
    If they don't go through with it due to lack of funds, their application is completely removed and the tickets are reallocated to others. How is that madness? (see below)

    "There is also a get out of jail card for people changing their minds later by allowing them to sell back tickets not wanted at no cost."

    I'm confused - surely this must be a good thing?

    This encouraged the behaviour that we observed and resulted in all this debate.

    "And I have very little sympathy for people incurring credit card charges for holding the tickets until then anyway."

    "Imagine the mayhem it would cause if Ebay operated like this.."
    Except your analogy is nonsense.

    If you don't have the money, you don't get the tickets. They are reallocated. That's (presumably) why the process *could* take up to 10 June. It's not that you can change your mind (well you can, but you lose all your tickets).

    It's not about "liking" the final amount. You apply for it, if you win the ballot, you pay for it. If you can't, you lose the tickets. Someone else can have them. What's the problem?

    My point here is that if there are two of you, one could do a sensible allocation for what you want (say £1000) and put it on a credit card with a limit that will cover it. Whilst the other one of you could put in an application for £40k and put it on a credit card with a £1k limit. Then if the ballot wasn't heavily over subscribed (which is what the gamble was) you get a good share of the £1000 application and forfeit the £40k or tickets by not increasing the limit.

    As for re-selling - if you buy something off Ebay you can re-sell it on Ebay anyway! So what's your point?

    Not (unlikely) to the person who you bought it from.

    As a genuine question, what happens on EBay if you bid too much and can't pay for it? Are you suggesting a similar thing should have happened here?
    What other system do you suggest?

    You get bad feedback and sellers are less likely to deal with you in future.

  • Comment number 41.

    @ map1mh:

    Apologies for not replying in full.

    "The point was that you have to stump up the money for all the tickets you apply for. In the case of the chap who applied for £36k who wanted £5k of tickets (from the reports I read), do you think he would have put up £36k at the start or £5k. I believe the latter and given that he got £11k of tickets under the actual system there would have been an extra £6k of tickets in the ballot for other people under my system.

    I agree that some people probably put it for much more than they really wanted (using your 36k to 5k example). That's the risk they take - they might get landed with lots.
    It's true that if somehow he could only get his 5k worth guaranteed, then 6kworth of tickets is freed up. But then again, if he *really* only wants 5k, then he'll be selling the extra 6k next year anyway, so people can buy them then.

    I don't think your system would work. People will(/might) always apply for more than they really want, in order to get more tickets. Suppose the guy wants the 5k, so applies for the 5k. And he doesn't get them - it is a ballot after all. But there are no more tickets. Then he only gets, say, £200. Why is that different (36k to 5k; 5k to £200)?

    On a separate note, thinking about it, how would knowing the number of seats actually help? Let's just imagine 50% of tickets were band D, 25% C, 15% B, 5% A, 5% AA. [Aside from, how do you build a stadium with seating like that].

    How does it help? Sure, you know there's 10x more tickets in D than A - but you don't know how that affects your chances of winning, since everyone else knows the same. Even if band D had 80% of the tickets and AA 1% - maybe everyone else is put off by the 1% so your chance is actually better than than huge number of tickets in band D! You're still ignorant about what others are doing, so it doesn't help. (Does it?)

  • Comment number 42.

    Why were tickets only available to Visa card holders? Why should people have to get a Visa card if they don't want one but want tickets? The organisers should never have agreed to this, but of course there's money involved, so that's all right then!

  • Comment number 43.

    It's a scandal. I applied for 112 tickets for 2 adults and 4 children over 20 events mostly the AM and early PM sessions. I applied for the sessions where you pay the child's age and ticked the box to accept cheaper tickets. It would have cost £3,600 if we had got them all.

    We've got none

    A friend with a family of 6 is in a similar position but only applied for £2000 worth and still got none.

    The chances of this happening must be several trillion to one ....... unless ....

    We think they have rationed the children's tickets having coaxed us into applying for them. They appear to specifically discriminated against children. It's the only credible explanation.

    They've sold the games as being about your and opportunity but appear to have discriminated against children.

    It's a scandal.

  • Comment number 44.

    The one certainty was that whoever did not tickets would whinge and sure enough . . .

    It was important that the system be cheap and easy to run and anything but a lottery would not be. As for you, Tim_Harpenden, ±43, who sees a conspiracy against children, I expect you think Shergar is being ridden by Elvis and trained by Princess Di!

  • Comment number 45.

    The Olympic Ticket sale much like the entire Olympics is a complete scam, it serves the greed of the Corporate Sponsors.
    The Olympics was invented to provide sport to the People, the cost of a single ticket is so prohibitive as to exclude all but the rich, and by rich I mean people earning £40k + a year, who probably don't consider themselves as rich, but in comparison to a person on minimum wage they are (£8k net pa).
    The Tax payers of this country and the TV licence payers are being conned into paying for the sports and entertainment of the elite. ONE BIG CON JOB.

  • Comment number 46.

    I'm not sure the lottery does work that way.

    Other people buying lottery tickets doesn't alter your chances of getting 6
    numbers. Only you can do that, and you know the odds - around 1 in 14 million
    per £1 you want to spend. If someone else spends £30,000 it doesn't change your
    odds one jot -they are still 1 in 14 million per £1 you spend. If someone else
    wins too you get less of the prize, but you've still got part of the prize

    But with the Olympics, other people applying for masses of sessions does
    directly alter your odds of being successful. And we don't even know what those
    odds are because LOCOG give so little information. So the wealthy can afford to
    play with money not caring what the odds are, while the rest of us can only
    gamble what we can afford (as with the lottery) but unlike the lottery, the huge
    gambles made by the wealthy directly reduce our odds.

    I like map1mh's suggestion of asking people to stump up the money up front, but
    I still think that 20 sessions per person was too many.

  • Comment number 47.

    In addition, your odds of having a Porsche are either 1 or 0. 1 if you have the money and want to buy one, 0 if you don't have the money or don't want to buy one.

    And the "ticket limit" of 4 per event isn't the whole story. Limiting people to 20 sessions and 4/6/10/20 per session (depending on the event) ignores the fact that for some people, financial reality limits their application to just 2 or 3 sessions. Meanwhile others apply for 20, increasing their own odds but, crucially, directly decreasing the odds for the people who can ony afford to try for 2 or 3.

    Ballots for other public events like concerts are run on a basis of 1 application per person, same chance for all. This one was run on the basis of the wealthier you are, the more applications you can make at the direct expense of others' chances.

  • Comment number 48.

    @ grayif

    The current system favoured both rich people and gamblers. Although my system is far from perfect, I think it would have reduced the benefits for the gamblers. As for the rich - well they win in every walk of life.

    Regarding the chap having the option of forfeiting all the tickets he won or managing his position until the point he can sell some back, I see that as insurance against his gamble going wrong. And insurance must have a cost and by this I mean economic cost (money) and not for-going something. Otherwise problems arise. This is probably only one small element that contributed to the bigger picture.

    I'm sure things will become clearer soon. I bet there is a bunch of journalists already preparing their Freedom Of Information (FOI) requests.

    As for the system that was employed being cheap and easy to run, I think any FOI requests will reveal that some staggering amounts of money have been spent on consultants and experts.

  • Comment number 49.

    I agree there should have been a cap on the total amount of tickets applied for, aprt from that the system was fair. This would have avoided people applying for (many) more tickets than they actually wanted! It wasn't fair that some people who could have afforded lots of money to come out of their account like £36,000 just in case they won all of the tickets they applied for. I'm not rich so I applied for what I could actually afford ( not my credit limit which was far higher than tickets I applied for).

  • Comment number 50.

    I registered to enter the ticket lottery but got so confused with what to go for and at what price. I could see that if I applied for more I would have had more chance of getting something, as is shown by the the winners mentioned in the article and comments above. But then if they all came up I would lose out because I wouldn't be able to pay for them all. I ended up not applying for any.

    Londoners as defined by being council tax payers should have been offered the chance to have tickets to one event for their households. Having lived in London for over 50 years I should have had the opportunity to attend this once in a life-time event.

  • Comment number 51.

    Right from the first concept I had always supported the London Olympics and was overjoyed when it was awarded to us. So wanted to be a part of a once in a lifetime event. Hugely disappointed with it all now. I applied for tickets for a real mix of events; opening and closing ceremonies (of course) but also the archery; basketball; diving & tennis, something for all the family. Received nothing.

  • Comment number 52.

    Come on #41, stop being so terribly naive. If you knew there were 200 category D tickets @ £40 and 400 cat C at £80 per ticket you could weigh up the statistics and make a decision if it was worth upping your maximum to £80 to potentially qualify for all 600 tickets below. You do that and if you get some in a ballot where everyone else knows the rules it is "fair". If you don't know how many tickets are available, and all of a suuden there are only 5 £40 tickets up for grabs after LOCOG have done their "profit maximisation calculations" it surely must be unfair?

  • Comment number 53.

    I am very happy about my ticket allocation.
    I applied for two tickets only for one session of Taekwondo and I got both tickets.

    I can honestly say that I would not have been remotely angry if we hadn't got any tickets; I reserve that depth of emotion for important things like the current care homes scandles.

    I really wonder if people are so used to buying what they want and getting it, that they can't cope with not being in control of this situation nor cope with its' randomness.

  • Comment number 54.

    PS comment above That said, I would have done the same thing to maximise profit. It would be the same as Top Shop saying we have 5 grades of shirt to sell, tell us how much you are prepared to pay for these "shirts" and we will put you in a hat and draw out the winners. Total bull, the highest bidders will mysteriusly win the shirts. Unfair, un-Olympic but probably sensible

  • Comment number 55.

    Am i right in thinking that if i haven't had any money debited from my account then i wont have a chance of any tickets??? Or do i still have until the 10th June?? This is all very confusing!!
    If this is the case i shall be truely gutted for not getting the opportunity to see this massive event. I ordered tickets that i could afford not what my credit limit states, it just shows how greedy some people are by ordering thousands of pounds worth of tickets. The Olympic committee certainly need to consider how this has been dealt with, it sure isn't the fairest way as they have stated!!!!

  • Comment number 56.

    I'm surprised they didn't follow SW19s hugely successful ballot method. Apply for tickets, receive an offer, make a decision - do I want to spend that money, can I afford it? - accept/reject. Simple. Why London 2012 has to do it differently beats me. Just like the logo, hideous!

  • Comment number 57.

    A retired person with a very limited income, I applied for a single concession-priced ticket for 6 different sessions and a single full-priced ticket for a further 6 sessions at a maximum total cost of £300. I attend sporting events regularly and wanted to attend the "greatest sporting event in the world" which is taking place within 5 miles of my home.

    I know that I am luckier than some but it is making me VERY angry that because I won ONE ticket for the football preliminary round I am not allowed to buy any more tickets in the second round when the unsold tickets go on sale soon let alone two or three. I suppose they are saving me from paying hundreds of pounds for ONE ticket for something I really want to attend!

    I feel that there has been a serious lack of information provided about exactly how many tickets were available in each category - it is entirely possible, although I hope not actually so, that there were only two tickets available in the lowest price category for every session? A similar argument applies to the concessionary tickets - maybe there were only two concessionary tickets available for each session? It would then be factually correct to say that there were tickets in the lowest price band and at concessionary rates but I would describe that as "economical with the truth" i.e. blatant deception! How do we KNOW that this has not been the case?

    When I attended the football World Cup in Germany there was more flexibility in the application system - you could state what price ticket you preferred but also a maximum price you were prepared to pay per ticket.

    If this had been done for London 2012 when the applications were selected in order, the first get their first choice, the second their choice etc. When a price category is sold out the next applicant for that category is then allocated a ticket in the next price category up to their maximum price limit. This gives much more flexibility for applicants who, without knowing how many tickets there are in each price band, must opt for one price and once that is sold out stand no further chance of getting a ticket. If, as suggested above, there were only two concessionary price tickets for each session and I could have put a higher price limit for my tickets I would have stood a greater chance of getting a ticket for the events I wanted to go to (this argument holds true however many concessionary tickets there are). This system also means that, although it is still a lottery, applicants know that if their number comes up they stand more chance of getting a ticket even if they have to pay more than they prefer.

    My final point is about the tickets where the applicant has not got enough money in their account and the transaction fails. These tickets will then be re-allocated. Who will they be re-allocated to? I believe that the payment total for each customer's tickets would be taken in one transaction? Does that mean that I stand no chance of getting a re-allocated ticket in my chosen price band because a payment (for my ONE ticket) has already been taken?

    It is possible to continue to pick holes in the system from now until the Games open next year but I do find it annoying that I am contributing to the cost of this event through my council tax but have been given no priority at all! It might have been a good idea to allow (for example) every household in London to apply for up to two tickets for one session. Applications for these tickets could have been by post only with a closing date before the general sale. A set proportion of EVERY session would be set aside for these applicants and there would no guarantee of getting your ticket. Then, if you applied for the mens 100m final you would stand a minute chance of claiming your ticket/s but if you really just wanted to attend the Games to sample the atmosphere and be able to say "I was there" you could apply for a session with a lot of seats which was not likely to be oversubscribed and, as long as your application was received on time, fulfil that desire.

    I know lots of people who applied for tickets but nobody else got even a single ticket so really I should be grateful for my one! I shall just have to ask them to buy me some tickets when the second round opens ;-)

  • Comment number 58.

    Yes the System was Fair! Yes the System was Clear!
    I was VERY impressed that we had the details of the Event, Time and could choose Prices! The only thing I would have added, though it would have made it more complicated was an option to say - IF I don't get these (Athletics, etc...) , `CAN i then please have those (Handball, etc...).
    LOCOG has a responsibility to take a lot of £££ from the Tickets and from Corporate Sponsors as the Olympics cost a lot to put on (ask Montreal '76 !).
    The only other problem has been the Drip of Drip of Info' and £ withdrawals, Not sure how else it could've been done.
    PLEASED that Those that Get NO Tickets this time - Get First go Next time.
    For the Record I thought all this even when 31/5 passed and I had nothing!
    But to be Honest - Here's what I did. I spent Many Many Hours considering ALL times of All events and selected 148 tickets to apply for between my wife and myself. We are NOT rich but have known the Games have been coming and have been saving and if we got LOADS it would have been our 'holiday'.
    We have got about 20% of the ££ we applied for, and about 30 tickets, we think most will be for less popular events - but we are Happy to be Part of the Olympic-Experience. (I was at Atlanta '96 and loved cheering on Henman and also the GB Hockey team - GO to ANYTHING you can - ANYTHING at ALL!!)

  • Comment number 59.

    As many people point out this was a lottery so lots of people had to be be disappointed.
    For the record I applied for approx £1350 of tickets which were all for events I wanted to see and was prepared to pay for and I got £140 which is probably about average.
    Got two Olympic tickets for two out of three from Mens Hockey prelims, Ladies Hockey Prelims and Badminton prelims. All my ambitious punts on Athletics, Swimming and Cycling failed as expected.

    The key point as many people point out is that there was no information issued about the number of tickets in each price category for each session. so we were all choosing blind in terms of our strategy. I decided to go for the second lowest in the popular events in the view , perhaps mistaken, that this would maximise my chances.
    I am very concerned that when asked this question in the Telegraph webchat the Ticketing director completely avoided answering the question !! Why no straight answer ??

  • Comment number 60.

    I live in London and applied for 34 tickets overall - I ended up with zero.
    Actually really upset about it :'(

  • Comment number 61.

    Just checked the number of tickets people were allowed to buy for each session ... WHY were people allowed to buy 20 (yes TWENTY) tickets for morning sessions of the athletics? Surely parties of more than (say) 6 should have had a separate application procedure? I applied for ONE per session and do not think that is what my only ticket is for (I expect it to be for football).

    Another question is ... WHY is it necessary to charge £6 to deliver one ticket costing £16 to my home less than 5 miles from the Olympic Park?

  • Comment number 62.

    @46: good point.
    @47: The point about the Porsche (not my example) is that 'the rich always have an advantage' - why is this any different? Doesn't mean it's right. (The point would be that not being able to afford a Porsche, or Olympics tickets, is 0 in either case.)
    @48: Hmm.. Not sure. Either way, it would be fair, since you have the option to gamble as well. (With regards to gambling, not that you're rich. Although you might be :-))
    @52: I disagree. The point is everyone is in the same position of ignorance. If what you suggest happens, you might indeed feel like you want to up the money. But you don't know what anyone else is thinking, so there's no guarantee it would help or make any positive difference. The ballot is between people who apply: regardless of the number of tickets available, it is fair between them(/us) since we have the same knowledge.
    (Obviously an insider could screw us all over :-)). As far as my ticket application, I ticked the box to say I would be willing to pay one level higher or lower, if my preferred range was not available. Again, everyone could've done that. I accept the system may be "unfair" to the poor, since their range of possible tickets is reduced. Realistically, what could be done about that?

  • Comment number 63.

    It annoys me that people complain about the system when that wasn't the problem here. The problem was the prices of the tickets - they were simply too high. this meant that most people applied for the cheapest category E seats, and ballots went on in those price bands - the amount we have been debited indicates that we didn't get at least one session of hockey, table tennis or volleyball. The reason seats for these less popular events are still available is that they are available in higher price bands. The only serious problem with the system has been the lack of transparency; had there been info about the proportions of tickets available in each category, it would have better limited the expectations of the many people who are now extremely angry that they didn't get tickets to the 100m final, etc, etc

  • Comment number 64.

    Obviously I feel a bit disappointed of having won only around 20% of what I applied for (and, more importantly, having no clue about what I will be seeing).

    However, I think that having the Olympics on your doorstep is once-in-a-lifetime thing and absolutely fantastic. Therefore I am totally thrilled that I will get to experience in first part at least some of it. I feel very sad for those who missed out completely.

    I hope that when the Olympics actually happens, for events that are not full (even if tickets are sold, but people didn't show up), the organizing team will do what they do on the fifth day of a Test match, and just sell tickets on the day, cheaply.

    I would be more than happy to fill in a place in a preliminary of a unknown sport or something. Just to give the place an atmosphere. After all, taking part, and not winning, is what counts.

  • Comment number 65.

    Eh? I had to do a double-take when I saw this blog. AFAIK, the BBC is NOT in charge of tickets for the Olympics. But you want people to comment on the BBC site. Stupid !
    If I want to comment on the idiotic ticket allocation scheme, I will do it where it makes sense. The BBC website is NOT the place.
    Why don't you write a blog about how much TV tax the BBC is going to waste on Olympic coverage? Or is that something you'd rather hide?
    I really do despair of the BBC. Why won't anyone do anything about the BBC and it's corrupt practices?

  • Comment number 66.

    Why are people making such a fuss over the £ 6 delivery charge? It was clearly listed during the booking process and tickets will be delivered by secure courrier and not by the Royal Mail.

    How were LOCOG supposed to sell tickets?

    Its all very well complaining about the system but very few people have suggested an alternative other than 'first come first served' and would that really have been fair? How would people without the internet be able to buy tickets?

    The Ballot system has operated now for several Olympic Games. Vancouver operated it for 2010 and people applied for price banded tickets (just like LOCOG) not knowing where these were located in the various venues (just like LOCOG).

    No doubt Sochi in 2014 and Rio in 2016 will also run ticket ballots as being the fairest way to allocate tickets.

    I applied for £100 worth of tickets and got none. Am I dissapointed - of course but I'm not jumping up and down complaining about it.

    I made sure I read all the ticketing information that LOCOG produced. Seams to me like a lot of people failed to do that. I didn't need James Pierce's blog and reports to tell me what the process was and to answer some of the questions that if people looked LOCOG had already answered.

  • Comment number 67.

    Surely this method would have been much better if it was done exactly the same way, but staged over several months - so each week a group of events would be open for application for tickets, at the end of each week the winners are informed and the next set of events lottery would start. Probably start with mostly the less popular events, but mixing things up so that you don't have too many similar events in any week. This way people wouldn't have ended up with too many tickets, and people unlucky early on could react to that and make extra bids, where people that got more than they expected early on could make less bids on the later events.

  • Comment number 68.

    @65 how would you have run it?

    my main problem is the unrealistic expectations of many people. Take a cycling final in the velodrome: 6000 capacity, half to sponsors and corporates makes 3000. 5 price bands, 600 in each. Most people would have applied for 2, so lets say 300 people would have won the cheapest £50 seats. If 30,000 people applied for them, then 1 in 100 would have got it. It's simple maths, so all the whinging from people who didn't get the massive events annoys me!

  • Comment number 69.

    Although communication and the lack of ticket numbers has been poor, the overall system is fair and although I am unhappy about the amount of tickets I have been allocated, I can understand it!

    As a mad sports fan, like many of those who requested tickets, why should I be penalised for saving my money for the last 3 years so I could be able to try and buy my 20 sessions worth? Then someone who only has a passing interest in the sports but feels they have a right to see the athletics or cycling...

  • Comment number 70.

    We applied for the number we could afford and got about 25%. We are quite happy with that, and have used a big part of the remaining 75% to buy tickets to 2 specific events via Thomas Cook packages as they are the ones we really wanted, and can tell from the amount debitted we have not got them (the men's final & bronze medal hockey matches).
    To those saying they missed out on qualifying rounds of hockey, everyone I know who has applied for those has got them - AND every hockey club in the UK has also got an allocation to one qualifying session for the cheapest tickets, so to the person who suggested that members of sports clubs should get some kind of priority -THEY HAVE. and hockey will not be the only sport to have done that.
    I have a couple of hotel rooms I don't need but am more than happy with the outcome.

  • Comment number 71.

    If, as some people suggest, all applicants should get a ticket, this would have been a shambles. There were 1.8m applicants for 5.5m tickets (excluding the football sessions!). Each applicant I would guess has been on behalf of 3 people (on average) This would instantly mean 1 ticket per person.

    Then how would this have been allocated? Seeing almost everyone would want a marque event as first choice, athletics, cycling, swimming and gymnastics would go. As some people only wanted a big event and only applied for a big event, should they then get priority for these events?? Then the big sports fans who would have their first choice as one of these events but also wanted to sample as much of the Olympic experience as possible would be excluded from these events as they had also applied for other events! It just does not work! It would just encourage all people to go for the bigger events first, leaving the smaller events.

  • Comment number 72.

    Where is our national press when we need them ?

    LOGOC has either lied or cocked-up. MY family applied for 64 tickets from 32 events for over £8k and we got absolutley nothing. This included heats of events such as Handball, Tae Kwon Do and Table Tennis as well as the big events. Statistically this result is simply not possible based on LOGOC's public statements about how the tickets were allocated. Is no-one investigating this ? Something smelles really bad about this whole process.

  • Comment number 73.

    I do have sympathy for those who applied for more obscure events, but the numbers of people who said they went for these events obviously means they are not as obscure as you and I thought when applying!

  • Comment number 74.

    I think it would have been helpful to have beeen given some indication of the total number of seats available for each sport/session, and some indication of likely popularity. I bid for 20 tickets in 5 sports (heats sessions) and was unfortunate.
    We don't yet know when the next round, open to applicants like me, will start. I hope it will be on a weekend day for people who work and will have a ticket number limit, because first come first served favours those with fast broadband speeds. Ironically, some of the slowest speeds are apparently in East London!
    The best information came from James Pearce (BBC Olympics correspondent) on Twitter who was unfailingly helpful in responding to people who couldn't get other information about Olympic tickets, had credit cards rejected, and who shared the experiences and tips forwarded by twitter users. Thanks to James. The London 2012 ticket office should learn from this.

  • Comment number 75.

    LOGOC were right not to say what you paid for because you'd have one person perking up saying I got the TOP TICKETS....and then someone then kicking off saying how did you get that and such.

    I got Two Womens Football Games and the Bronze Womens Match at Coventry because I knew that I wouldnt get anything for the events in London and just watch it on the TV.

    Some people do have Sour Grapes but telling people what they got before would have caused utter confusing and arguments. (And some news organistaions causing futher annoyance buying them from Germany....yeah that helps public confidence!!!!!!!!!!!!)

  • Comment number 76.

    We have been lucky enough to be able to save since the Olympics were announced. We had built up a fighting fund for our family of four. We applied for just over £6,000 worth of tickets, having all chosen the events and sports we'd like to go to. We know that that to have that much money available makes us privileged, but we had forgone holidays and other luxuries to put away our fighting fund. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

    We have got under £1,000 worth of tickets. We are pretty sure looking at the way the prices work that this does not give us any Swimming, Athletics, Cycling or Rowing tickets - the ones we most wanted. We'll go and we'll enjoy the other events that we have tickets for.

    But. The irony is that if we had simply chosen the 100m final and a great velodrome session, then gone to a Travel agent BEFORE the ballot started, we'd have got those tickets. If the 100m final did not only have 25% of tickets available to the general public, we might have got tickets. Instead the sponsors can drool over that feast (and almost certainly leave the stadium half empty for the rest of the day).

    Why did travel agents get guaranteed tickets before the public did?

    Why, if the Olympics are all about equality and sport for all, are the Sponsors not given tickets for the cinderella first round events? They are happy to sponsor an occasion that is for everyone, they should be equally happy to take tickets that are for everyone.

  • Comment number 77.

    In my view the best way they could have allocated tickets was a mixture of this balloting system and a first come first served system.

    They could have done the balloting system for events that they thought were likely to be oversubscribed (i.e. athletics, swimming, rowing cycling) and then for the less popular events, they could have used the first come first served system. This would have helped people like me, who aren't really interested in which session they got, but just wanted to see a certain sport in action. You would have been able to see which sessions and price ranges had been sold out, and then simply applied for tickets in a different price range or session that had spare tickets. The fact that there are many disappointed people with few or no tickets at all, whilst around 50% of the sessions still have available tickets shows that the system was flawed.

    It would also have allowed people to apply within your means a bit more. Obviously you would have had the random chance of getting an athletics or cycling ticket, but you wouldn't have had to apply for a large spread of less popular events at a possible vast expense in the hope of getting a few tickets.

  • Comment number 78.

    I would question how clear the rules were at the outset. With regards to a platform for selling tickets back in 2012 there was certainly confusion. A number of papers (e.g. the Evening Standard in London) ran stories that suggested that people who volunteered to help out at the Games and subsequently got tickets through the ballot would not be able to sell them back if there was a clash with the events they were working at and the tickets they bought. If that was incorrect LOCOG should have corrected the situation. Please correct me if they did.

  • Comment number 79.

    Blah, blah, blah.

    Sick of people complaining about the process - as my wise old Dad once said "RTFM". Even the original article is flawed by the writers family member saying they could only work out what they had got if LOCOQ were charging a £6 postal fee - RTFM - I knew about it so why didn't others.

    what many people fail to advise in their many complaints, is what they applied for - not everyone can get a £20 ticket for the 100m final, but how many people applied. Many of those applying, will be glory hunters, so that they can say they were there, but have never been to or will never go to a swim meet or local athletics event again in their life - Do they really deserve a ticket??

    I have read and re-read the rules and regs around the ticket application and fully understand how the system works and what I needed to do - what is so difficult about the whole process - much of the rubbish written in the press letter pages, websites, Twitter and various blogs is sour grapes. Suspect that in the end everyone in England will blame Sepp Blatter and FIFA. The Olympics will go on after London 2012, so forget the feeling the World owes you something and everyone is against you.

    When the 2nd and 3rd stage process comes around, be ready and you might get lucky, but here is a major tip. Support the less glamorous sports if you just want to say you were there - forget the 100m final and swimming.

    I applied for 6 tickets for 3 events and received 4 tickets for 2 events (both finals), and only missed out on a cheeky bid for 2 tickets for the closing ceremony (only coz I would be in London if I got the other tickets). I knew that I could be paying up to £600, but the is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

    Stop complaining and keep trying

  • Comment number 80.

    As another londoner whos life is devoted to sport, i also bidded for many slightly obscure tickets such as heats for football. Its not the ballot itself that annoys me. It is the 'lesser of many evils' to put it simplistically

    The larger issue in my opinion is the fact that coporate giants and sponsors are getting half the tickets in stadiums. I think its fair they should get some seats, but considering its the 'peoples olympics' the people should be convinced that it actually is for them rather then just another money making project. Imagine all the families that are losing out on tickets just so some coporate bloke who probably has no passion for sport and has barely any interest can go. In my view not fair.

    This isnt just a problem for the olympics. Its a lot more wide spread. The champions league final for example allocated just 50,000/90,000 of the seats to the fans. Its just so unfair in my opinion. Though i shall spare you all a massive rant on FIFA.....

  • Comment number 81.

    I applied for the below and "only" got £186 worth... does that make me greedy, stupid or a whiney british brat?

    No! I applied for what I could afford and got some of them... I am grateful to be going at all if I'm honest and if luck is on my side, maybe some of my "sessions" will link together but if not maybe I will watch Olympic tiddlywinks on a day I am in town and learn something new rather than trying to cherry pick my way through the glitz and glamour!

    I appreciate that I did actually go for some "premium" but once I eventually find out what I have, I'll be sure to try something new and hopefully cast aside this whinging mentality I appear to have been born into and meet some genuine fans!

    Your ticket requests:

    Sport: Opening Ceremony
    Session code: ZO001
    Date/time: 27 July 2012 19:30-22:30
    Venue: Olympic Stadium
    Price Category: D
    Quantity: 2
    Total cost: £40.24
    Total maximum cost: £40.24

    Sport: Closing Ceremony
    Session code: ZC001
    Date/time: 12 August 2012 19:30-22:30
    Venue: Olympic Stadium
    Price Category: D
    Quantity: 2
    Total cost: £40.24
    Total maximum cost: £40.24

    Sport: Athletics
    Session code: AT004
    Date/time: 04 August 2012 18:50-22:05
    Venue: Olympic Stadium
    Price Category: E
    Quantity: 2
    Total cost: £100.00
    Total maximum cost: £100.00

    Sport: Athletics
    Session code: AT005
    Date/time: 05 August 2012 18:50-21:55
    Venue: Olympic Stadium
    Price Category: D
    Quantity: 2
    Total cost: £100.00
    Total maximum cost: £100.00

    Sport: Athletics
    Session code: AT015
    Date/time: 11 August 2012 18:45-21:30
    Venue: Olympic Stadium
    Price Category: D
    Quantity: 2
    Total cost: £100.00
    Total maximum cost: £100.00

    Sport: Basketball
    Session code: BK034
    Date/time: 08 August 2012 20:00-00:00
    Venue: North Greenwich Arena
    Price Category: D
    Quantity: 2
    Total cost: £90.00
    Total maximum cost: £110.00

    Sport: Beach Volleyball
    Session code: BV024
    Date/time: 04 August 2012 13:00-14:50
    Venue: Horse Guards Parade
    Price Category: D
    Quantity: 2
    Total cost: £90.00
    Total maximum cost: £110.00

    Sport: Cycling - BMX
    Session code: CB002
    Date/time: 10 August 2012 15:00-17:20
    Venue: BMX Circuit
    Price Category: C
    Quantity: 2
    Total cost: £90.00
    Total maximum cost: £90.00

    Sport: Swimming
    Session code: SW014
    Date/time: 03 August 2012 19:30-20:50
    Venue: Aquatics Centre
    Price Category: D
    Quantity: 2
    Total cost: £100.00
    Total maximum cost: £100.00

    Sport: Boxing
    Session code: BX026
    Date/time: 10 August 2012 20:30-23:00
    Venue: ExCeL
    Price Category: E
    Quantity: 2
    Total cost: £60.00
    Total maximum cost: £100.00

    Maximum ticket total: £890.48

    Your merchandise requests:

    Merchandise total cost: £0.00

    Your delivery details:

    £6.00 charge for fulfilment and secure delivery to an address in the UK

    Maximum cost of application*: £896.48

  • Comment number 82.

    My two questions are:

    1) why were other EU countries allowed to sell their tickets the normal way i.e first come first serve

    2) why we (the public) not told by Locog that we were able to buy tickets from other countries sites in the EU. Surely they must of known this

  • Comment number 83.


    Thanks for the comment, all good debate.

    Perhaps I am not very good at explaining the point I feel passionately about. Yes we were all at the same level of ignorance, but I still contend it is not "fair" if LOCOG (as I and many suspect) only worked out how many of each category ticket were available after they received information on how much everyone was able / willing to pay.

    I don't argue that statistically everyone had the same chance if they applied for the same ticket pricing band, but it is not "fair" to alter the amount of tickets in each band after the applications come in to maximise revenue.

    Statistically no problem but my comment is more regarding the fairness / ethics of obtaining pricing information and then dishing out the tickets. I guarantee no-one who bid for the top price tickets for any cycling event (£500) missed out in the ballot - ok there would statistically be less chance of missing out but I'm sure you get my point.

    A simple declaration from LOCOG that the seating plan / ticket banding was worked out in advance would avail my concerns.

    My moaning aside, I am looking forward to the games and will get my positive head on after washing this bad taste from my mouth.

  • Comment number 84.

    I agree with those who say the availability of tickets for the different events, and the ballotting process should have been more transparent. Many might then have chosen to apply for fewer medium priced tickets rather than lots of cheaper ones. I feel hacked off as a Londoner, paying the taxes and exposed to the massive hype, that I and my family will not be going to the games. Furthermore I think the Thomas Cook and German options were kept unnecessarily quiet- if there had been more publicity, the wealthier would have gone for certainety, leaving higher chances for the common man.

  • Comment number 85.

    i live 20 minutes from the Olympic Site and have failed to gain any tickets in the ballot. It's a shame, but hey life goes on and at least my wife wil enjoy herself at the big shopping centre !!!!!

    I must admit that I was surprised at the complexity of the ticketing allocation and it did seem to favour those who could commit large funds of money unlike most of us who could only risk bidding for a few events.

    Still, in a week that FIFA took a pasting from the British Media, I suppose it's only fair that the London Olympic Committee gets the same treatment.

  • Comment number 86.

    Whats wrong with first come first served like all previous Olympics - or any other large event for that matter?

    I had a great time at Sydney 2000, got some great tickets - knew exactly what I was going to see, who was competing and how much it cost. Why do we need to do it differently? If it aint broke....

    One of my applications was for band D preliminary round Hockey tickets at 8:15 am (not the most attractive of times for most people). Given the stadium seats 16000 and Hockey's previous record attendance in the last 20 years in the UK is nowhere near that even for a final, how on earth did I not get tickets????

  • Comment number 87.

    Having watched BBC Breakfast and the interview with Paul Lewis (?) from Moneybox on Radio 4 at noon today, it would appear that our Olympics are suffering from another computer/service 'cock up'? Apparently, Germany has a great system. Germans log on, buy a ticket for their preferred sport at Britain's Olympics - job done!

  • Comment number 88.

    There have been 20 million applications for 6.6 million tickets. We all knew and this was certain that 13.4 million of those applicants will be unlucky. And all of those are accusing the system to be unfair. But what about all those alright not entirely 6.6 million but a little less tickets being allocated to the lucky ones, you cant please everyone when the demand is this high.

    First come first serve would never be an equal opportunity for anyone , why would someone come in first get it , what if someone laptop is down or the website crashed or someone is travelling on that date when the allocations start.

    Secondly Locog didnt know what are your odds , because whilst the ticketing window was open people were applying and only when it closed did they know that 20 million applications came in.

    Now take this example i know someone who applied for 5 tickets and won 4 out of them @20.12 a piece. So its all those people making a lot of noise who didnt win, im sure if the 6.6 (or less) people who have been allocated star talking here you would realize that the system worked and not every one lost.

    The guy applying for £36000 worth of tickets and winning £11000 is an exception, and in such huge numbers there are bound to be exceptions so why the complain if someone has been lucky or there has been an exception. Im sure his event timings will clash with others and he will have to resell them.

    If anyone knows of a better way of giving out tickets when the demand hugely surpasses the supply, spill it out here would be interested to know. Its easy to moan but when it comes to giving out a solution i know there would be a number of sealed lips. Dont think just for yourself you have to set and meet the expectations of the entire country here.

    Lastly everyone knew the process and everyone knew the olympics were a once in a life time event then they should have been prepared for the disappointment and forecasted the demand too.

    At the end I will only disagree with the fact that the govt. being allowed 9000 tickets and the VIP tickets which seem to run in the thousands. There should be VIP tickets but limited to foreign dignitaries and heads of states only.

  • Comment number 89.

    I'm highly dissapointed with all the ticket process. I've applied for many tickets, got none. Besides the service was slow and had many flaws. I've also applied for the volunteer programe, and I've got no answer, apparently a trilingual highly experienced in tourism and services is not fit for the programe, for athens and beiging I've got a fast aswer regarding to the volunteer programe. To be honest I'm really sad, olympics are my dream and I've followed this ones closely, all the venues, locations, and everything and apparently if you're not english you get nothing. I am french and I live in France.

  • Comment number 90.

    Re: 86 Spackler. That may be true but whilst people may not go to a lower key international, they will go to the Olympics. I do feel a little sorry for people who have regularly supported a sport but have now been shut out of the Olympics but i just feel there was never a perfect system which was going to keep everyone happy.

    I always predicted the biggest problem with tickets would be those who miss out as there were never going to be enough to go around.

    My only concern is the sponsors & making sure they use their ticket allocation and if not, that it's made available to the public. Given the huge demand for tickets there will be justifiable anger if there are empty seats, especially at higher profile events.

  • Comment number 91.

    I applied for £702 worth of tickets and was planning on having to spend about the same on visiting London and staying in/around London.

    I received no tickets and will use the money towards holiday to France.

    Have to say whilst initially disappointed there is a certain amount of relief at not having to think about the logistics of organising it all.

    Hopefully might be luckier in ballot for place in London marathon but never got in that way yet either.

  • Comment number 92.

    Just looking dispassionately at the cold statistics it seems the results of this allocation do not stack up with the reported numbers of available tickets and applications. In statistics extremes are always possible but 20 million applications is sufficient to expect allocations to follow a normal distribution (as in the statistical concept, not meaning "usual" or "standard") i.e if the tickets were 3 times oversubscribed and there was a totally random ballot with all applicants given the same chance then you would expect the bulk of people to get roughly a third of their requested tickets with some at the extremes getting more or less. But the VAST MAJORITY of the people I know received nothing, despite applying for the full 20 sessions across a wide variety of sports and ticket bands. A few received about 10% and two received over 90%, being stung for more than £1000 each. Putting aside the fairness argument, this suggests that the ballot was not totally random and that some people's applications were favoured and others were penalised for some reason, maybe due to their location or the card they used or whatever. I've no evidence for this (how could I have, there is very little transparency from LOCOG) but it's the only way to explain such a statistically unexpected distribution.

    Now, Seb Coe can bluff and bluster in the media all he likes, and smart asses can tell people to stop moaning but the bottom line is that many many people have been left feeling unwanted and excluded, which is not good for the Olympics. Don't forget that "inclusion" and "taking part" is not just my idea it was the bid's stated aim in 2005 yet THEIR OWN SYSTEM has actively worked against that. There may well be plenty of tickets left but those without any tickets from the first phase may now feel sufficiently marginalised that they won't bother applying in the second phase. Those that have won just a couple of tickets for events they weren't fully interested in may not bother turning up, especially if they have to travel from afar and stay overnight. And I fear that those sponsor, hospitality and overpriced travel agent packages will not all get sold and we'll witness the sight of embarrassingly empty arenas whilst 1000's of people who had previously been all fired up for the Olympics and willing to attend but were disillusioned by the ticketing process sit at home wondering what the hell has happened. I don't want that, and it's ridiculous that such an outcome could be a possibility given the demand obviously apparent in the number of applications, but the risk is now real.

    Its true that tickets were oversubscribed and no-one expects a free lunch (except for those getting a corporate handout) but surely the goal of the process was to sell as many tickets as possible to people who really wanted them, at times/days that they would be able to attend and at prices they could afford. This system may well have been the easiest for LOCOG to run, but it's clearly not the best for the consumer and in the long run that means for the Olympics itself. What it's left us with is an awful lot of people with nothing, some with tickets they didn't really want or spread over days that make it impractical for them to attend, and a few with probably more than they can really afford or make use of. It doesn't really matter whether it was fair or not, or whether this was the easiest way to do it, if the end result is lots of people disillusioned with the whole event more than a year before it starts followed by empty seats on the day then it was a failure and no amount of propaganda or spin from LOCOG will be able to whitewash that.

  • Comment number 93.

    I applied for 3 events for me and my family. We got given none of the tickets and then I saw today in the paper that the majority of the tickets were given as 'freebies' to the sponsers and important people. I really think that they need to rethink this. This event is supposed to be for the whole country yet thousands of people are missing out. The probability of the Olympics coming to Great Britain again is extremely slim and I don't understand why we shouldn't be able to experience this live instead of on a TV screen.

  • Comment number 94.

    Just to say thanks for the comments - all read with interest, and obviously it's very disappointing for people who haven't got what they hoped for.

    As mentioned in #87, Moneybox on Radio 4 looked at some of the issues today:
    - where you should find their podcast.

    The iPlayer link from their site doesn't seem to be working but this should:

  • Comment number 95.

    @Jane (Comment 70): now you know someone who didn't get tickets for preliminary Hockey matches. Me.

    Sport: Hockey
    Session code: HO005
    Date/time: 30 July 2012 13:45-17:30
    Venue: Hockey Centre
    Price Category: D
    Quantity: 1
    Total cost: £20.00
    Total maximum cost: £65.00

    Maybe this session (and ticket price bands) was oversubscribed but I won't be surprised if I'm offered these tickets in the second chance sale..and then it'll be obvious to everyone that the ticket process has been flawed.

  • Comment number 96.

    Sadly I'm not surprised to see so many negative comments here. Not because the ballot system was unfair but because people have obviously failed to understand their chances of getting a ticket and the need to eliminate 'touts' from the process. The organising committee were on a hiding to nothing from the very beginning. With such a massive pent up demand for a limited number of seats the vast majority of people were always going to lose out. This is why we have forums buzzing with discontent.

    Chatting to others who applied for tickets a pattern soon emerges. When people say 'I spent xxxx pounds on ticket applications' it normally means a scattergun approach in applying for a large number of cheap seats for a large spread of events. This does not make your chances any better. You simply have the same grim odds competing against the millions of others who had the same flawed idea. Chasing a £20 ticket for 60 different sporting sessions merely gives you 60 grim, massively over-subscribed battles to fight. Go for one or two high price seats in less popular sports and then you're talking. That being said, even 'obscure' events could cobble together enough fans to fill a venue many times over.

    I applied for 6 tickets for my family to attend two events. Three £125 tickets for the Super Heavyweight weightlifting final and three £65 tickets for the team foil fencing gold medal final. Each ticket category was the second highest price bracket for each sport and I feel lucky to have got all six. But I greatly increased my chances of success by narrowing my scope to less popular sports and pricier tickets. If I'd have gone for £10,000 worth of £20 tickets in key events I might well have walked away with nothing. As things stand it will be great fun and rather more 'amateur' than over-hyped millionaires doing a 100 metre dash. And if my wife and credit card company are happy then so am I...

  • Comment number 97.

    I think we can all be aggrieved by the guy who applied for £36k worth of tickets and got £11k worth. Not because he got £11k worth but because he was given further opportunities to get his bank to approve an uplifted credit limit. The rest of us had to ensure there were sufficient funds available in our account or cards.

  • Comment number 98.

    We applied for 3 sessions - Handball, Beach Volleyball and Hockey. We got all 3 - that is 6 tickets at a total cost of 178 pounds.
    I can understand that people who missed out are aggrieved but we accepted from the first that we had no guarantee of being successful, given the level of interest.
    Also, to me, the system was clear and fair and I don't think Locog deserves all the villification voiced in the comments on here.

  • Comment number 99.

    For all those that missed out on tickets (and those that didn't), start planning at least 4 days out next summer where you can view Olympic medal winning events first hand for free, for nowt, no charge, gratis.

    The Marathon -the truly original olympic event right through the heart of the capital
    The Cycling road-races - with some of Team GB's finest hopes spreading west out of London into Surrey, with a chance to see the men some 9 times as they circuit Box Hill & Headley.

    Pull on your funny hat, fill up your flask of tea (or something stronger) wave your flag - and be ready to tell your grand-kids: "In 2012 I was there!"

  • Comment number 100.

    Applied for 2k of ticket but didn't get any thats life. However a few points!

    1) Firstly maybe those who didn't get tickets could get the money they paid for the games in Taxes, returned

    2)Secondly what'll Locog say about the ineventiable empty spaces we'll see.


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.