The 2012 ticket race - The Finish Line
As I write this we are just over a month away from the closing throes of the Opening Ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Danny Boyle’s extravaganza will have blown-up Twitter and the mood will be set for the city, and the nation. The morning after of course, the real business of sport commences. And for those of you who have looked - or continue to look - for tickets, the klaxon for getting business done really resonates now.
The beauty of a blaring klaxon in a scenario like this means there is time to act. Not much mind…
THE STATE OF PLAY
Firstly, there are still Olympic tickets left to buy! Estimates released by LOCOG indicate there will be around a million left to sell before Games-time, though this number is impacted by the presence of the many Football tickets left to shift. Needless to stay, marquee events within Athletics, Swimming, Ceremonies and Track Cycling remain hard to get hold of; given that more information has been released about the Olympic Park prospective buyers should look to buy tickets for any sport on the site, which in turn will give them access to stick around, absorb the atmosphere and catch other events on the big screens.
Sports outside of the Olympic Park, such as Volleyball remain easy to get hold of but expensive categories are the ones being left for latecomers as the cheaper seats are snapped up quickly.
Critically, buyers have the choice of several ATRs and LOCOG itself to buy tickets. But time is the essential matter. While retaining a poker face and hoping for late releases (or even turning up on the day of events for Wimbledon-style queuing) may yet pay off, the advice is that if you have identified something you want to attend and can buy it - do!
TO ATR OR NOT?
The European ATRs have been the backbone of many a ticket-hunter’s armoury for the past year, and several continue to have their webshops open for business to sell those last-minute tickets.
They key thing to bear in mind in dealing with ATRs at this stage is whether they can get the tickets you want in time. Many members of the most preeminent of Olympic ticket group, the 2012Tweeps, have only started to receive deliveries from European vendors. It’s worth engaging with the ATRs prior to purchase to ensure they can get your tickets delivered in time - or dealing with ATRs who will have London-based centres to allow personal collection of tickets.
It will soon be a strange sight visiting many websites that have been synonymous with the search for Olympic tickets and find that they have closed their doors for good on London 2012.
THE REMAINING OPTIONS
Having been mired in the shadows for many months, the official LOCOG website is now the definitive portal to buy outstanding tickets. Recent big releases of contingency seating across all sports have led to many fans getting hold of dream tickets at their intended face-value. Ticketmaster have in turn now developed a mechanism to allow for effective resale, meaning there are daily releases of tickets on the website. They key for anyone is to regularly visit the site, become familiar with the sports and sessions they want to buy and be ready to act - rapidly.
In Europe, Germany’s Dertour, Belgium’s Suseia, Holland’s ATP and Spain’s Aristeia/Viagogo tie-up continue to hold small batches of tickets left in a number of sports for immediate purchase.
France remain a goldmine for a number of key sports, with both the ticket-only venture and hospitality website offering several different sessions - just be prepared to pay for steep mark-ups and access to the infamous Club France!
Other cross-territory ATRs, such as CoSport and Sportsworld are on their very last legs in terms of inventory available but are worth monitoring given their plans for ‘will call’ facilities in Central London for the Games.
Thomas Cook continue to offer ticket and hotel packages, and they are slowly cutting prices after long periods of inactivity. The recommendation - go to your local branch as opposed to the online estate, where you stand a better chance of getting a good deal on Olympic Park tickets.
LOCOG’s own Prestige Hospitality is in overdrive on offering remaining tickets with daily adverts in the Metro newspaper, complete 10% discount codes! Steep pockets needed of course, but again a viable option if desperate.
Twitter is a fountain of knowledge on the art of ticket-hunting - standout figures such as @Volshy, @Matt_Shoreditch, @NMDouglas and @2012Tweeps are worth following for the latest developments.
The 2012Tweeps have helped Olympians, both in Britain and beyond, secure tickets for London 2012; a genuine, knowledgeable, friendly community online and more reputable than other resource online.
Kevin Plasmans’ OS Site Tracker remains invaluable in getting updates for when various websites update their stock with new tickets.
Plugins, such as Update Scanner for Firefox are fantastic for having extra eyes on websites that sell tickets; and the WebWatch app for iPhone is a very useful tool to have on the move.
Finally, always consult the official London 2012 ticketing website for guidance on approved ATRs.
I CALL UPON THE YOUTH OF THE WORLD
This represents my last ‘Ticket Race’ blog - bar a retrospective on my experiences which will be live soon. As alluded to throughout the piece, the end of searching for tickets is very near. In just over six weeks time, the Olympics will be over - so the time to cherish what we have to look forward to is right now.
I plan to shift attention to writing other pieces on London 2012 before, during and after Games-time, as well as sharing images and video of what will be an amazing time for our country.
I hope you will come back to read these stories. I thank anyone and everyone who’s read, shared and used these blogs to help their own search for Olympic tickets. A year has flown by, which usually means the experience has been an enjoyable one. Who am I to disagree?
Read more about me and London 2012.