The 2012 ticket race - nearing the home straight… HEAT 2
Since the ‘first heat’ on Thursday, Resale has been and subsequently closed. While the recriminations will play out over the weekend and early next week, for the periods it was open expectations were both met - and slightly surpassed.
While it was no surprise to see top-end tickets put up for sale (i.e. Cat AA and A), the smattering of C and D categories available, especially for much sought-after events like Track Cycling and Swimming was a real surprise. One can only hope that after Ticketmaster have resolved their problems this trend will continue.
GETTING FRIENDS & FAMILY TO THE GAMES
An increasingly prominent story in various press outlets is around how owners of tickets can share their allocation with friends and family, especially if they cannot attend. In reality, many of the tickets in circulation will end up in the hands of friends and loved-ones of buyers. Without question many people would have got tickets over the Christmas period as gifts.
There is a natural unease about the feasibility of passing tickets on, given LOCOG’s intended stance on touts and illegal ticket sales.
However, between the likes of Paul Deighton (Chief Executive of LOCOG) and various figures at the Metropolitan Police, it seems certain that if ticket owners manage their allocations in good faith, there shouldn’t be problems in the event that they do not attend.
It is likely that in the event of unusual activity (a possible example is a large group of people all attending the same block or row of a venue - a classic tell of a tout sale), the named ticket owner will need to be on-hand for a quick check via telephone.
Throw in the need for security checks at venues along with transport considerations, and the likely outcome will be quick entry into venues.
DEALING WITH ATRs
ATR = Authorised Ticket Reseller
While many people chose to stamp their feet and scream blue murder at LOCOG after the the first and second official ticket sales in the UK last year (and now Resale) - a relatively silent contingent went about exploring the legitimacy of Olympic ticket sales on a global stage.
There are 204 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) around the world. Each committee, with every Olympic and Paralympic games is entitled to an allocation of tickets to sell in their respective territory. Several NOCs will partner with one large service provider who can handle all the technology and communications with customers (CoSport and Kingdom Sports are two prime examples). Other NOCs will appoint local agents to work with in order to get tickets sold.
These agents and providers are what are known as ATRs. Different ATRs sell to different territories with different allocations depending on the associated NOC’s size and Olympic pedigree. In most cases, sales are restricted to national boundaries - that is, a resident Briton cannot buy tickets directly from the Sri Lankan ATR, as an example.
But Europe (yep, that wretched despot that we should all be out of…) has offered different rules. Being part of the European Union has meant that while several of our cousins have been able to buy tickets through the UK sale, UK residents have been able in turn to get tickets from a variety of European ATRs. And not just non-event tickets - from Athletics to Wrestling, to Swimming, Judo and Rowing there have many success stories.
Many ATRs concluded their sales in 2011, and are unlikely to offer more tickets before the Games start. However, a lot of ATR business is centred around package sales (i.e. flights, hotels and tickets). It’s entirely plausible as Games time approaches - and if there are no takers - that unsold packages will be dismantled and tickets placed on general sale.
It can seem daunting to the uninitiated, especially as some of the European ATRs don’t have ‘friendly’ web interfaces that some may be used to back home - and other ATRs don’t have their websites in English which can be a source of total fear. But Google Translate and the heart of Derek Redmond should see you on the path to Olympic glory. You do not need to be a techie or have six languages to look around and see what the approved European ATRs have in store. Many before you have, and succeeded.
LOOKING TO LOCOG 3… AND 4?
Whilst the Synchronised Swimming saga dominated domestic headlines earlier in the week, the sub-plot to LOCOG’s actions centres around how many of the mooted one million tickets planned for sale in LOCOG 3 (i.e. their third official sale, planned for April) will have been lost to the compensation program offered to those affected.
Of a million or tickets, there won’t be a huge dent. But clearly some prime sports and events will be impacted in terms of their availability. Interestingly, several sources confirmed that events such as Swimming, Athletics, Diving, Beach Volleyball, Gymnastics, Hockey and Basketball were offered in the exchange deals - suggesting they are all prime areas of focus in LOCOG 3.
Given that the premise of the third sale is centred around the finalising of venue configuration and capacity, it seems unlikely all of the tickets will go on sale at the same time. By April, the London Prepares series (the official test program for London 2012) would have seen events completed at the Velodrome, Aquatics Centre, Basketball and Handball Arenas among others. But, the Olympic Stadium, Hockey Centre and Water Polo Arena will not see test events until May.
Given the need to create fervour and excitement in the final rundown to the main event, coupled with the fact that a number of test events will not start until May, it seems probable that there will be a fourth LOCOG sale, encompassing the very last dregs rechieved back from ATRs and sponsors, the leftovers from LOCOG 3 and the confirmed numbers for Athletics, Water Polo and Hockey. All speculation at this stage, but worth thinking about in the broader context of the race.
Read more about me and London 2012.