The 2012 ticket race - Hope burns bright
Hello reader. It’s been a while since I visited this subject, partly due to the minor inconvenience that is daily life, but moreover because the ticket hunt has diversified massively since my last proper dispatch in January.
It’s been nearly a year since the original LOCOG ballot was completed and people up-and-down the land learnt if they were going to the Games. For many following that moment, they took a path of higher pursuit and challenge - to the victor, the spoils… and such. For the rest, today’s official third round sale from LOCOG brings the ticket hunt back round full-circle.
And with 77 days left to the start of the London Games, opportunities to buy tickets are becoming both plentiful and challenging.
The Olympic Flame has now been lit in Greece, and will be on British soil in the next week. To many observers the much anticipated fillip of enthusiasm for London 2012 will come with the Torch Relay. So what can you do to maximise your chances of scoring some vital tickets before July..?
There is plenty of material out there, especially on the official ticket website itself to explain the actual process, but in summary Round 3 will focus on two key groups:
- The 20,000 who missed out on getting tickets in the first round ballot, and subsequent second round live sale. These guys will get the first dibs from 11am, 11/5.
- The remaining (estimated) one million applicants who tried and failed in the first round ballot but who didn’t come back for Round 2. This group can join in the search from 11am, 13/5.
There is an understandable logic which suggests that most of the top tickets will be hoovered up by the ‘unlucky’ 20k in the first sale, but the heavily permutated sale procedure points to a lot of good tickets being left over for the second group - who in turn could leave some gems for all other interested parties when the general sale opens on 23/5.
How so? Note this line from the ticketing guidelines:
“Only one transaction (a maximum of four tickets in one session) can be completed by each applicant during the presale period.”
This implies that for many buyers, they will have to make a difficult choice between either going for the Opening Ceremony versus the Men’s 100m Final in Athletics - as an example. And this ruling applies to the second group as well.
Furthermore, the contingency ticketing numbers give a broad-brush picture of availability, but it would be naive in the extreme to assume that all 5000 Opening Ceremony tickets will be at lower category bands. Eligible parties will have to make decisions based on their preference, and their wallet.
What this ultimately means is that notionally, the idea of only Football tickets being left for the general sale feels very wide of the mark: it is highly plausible that Athletics, Track Cycling and Swimming (albeit in the higher categories) could be left. LOCOG and Ticketmaster may yet have devised a scheme that addresses the technical issues, gets a wide cross-section of interested parties to the Games and yet be fair to all groups of applicants.
And this is the Olympics. There are only so many times one can have a false start before being disqualified…
The state of play, RIGHT NOW
European ATRs have, to use an American colloquialism, ‘blown-up’ in recent weeks and months, with the French, Belgian, Dutch and German resellers all having major sales. At this stage many are looking to wipe their proverbial surfaces clean in preparation of processing and dispatching tickets to buyers in June. This has created a tricky vacuum of waiting and seeing. But, should you want to move quickly…
Germany (Dertour): At the end of April they had a spectacular dump of tickets including the largest FCFS sale of Track Cycling tickets seen to date. While the prime tickets have gone, many remain including Badminton, Diving, Volleyball and Boxing.
Holland (ATP): Had a well publicised sale at the top of April; the site now has the remainders left, including some Hockey and Rowing.
France (FNAC/Eventeam): The much maligned Eventeam finally partnered with a proper webshop partner in FNAC to start selling their tranche of tickets outside of packages. Prime stuff has gone to date, but plenty of tickets available for the likes of Handball, Canoe Slalom and Mountain Bike Cycling among others.
Denmark/EEA (Sportsworld): Very much applicable if you’re reading this on May 11 before 10am, but the brilliant UK-based, global-serving ATR will be shedding a load of their remaining allocation including BMX Cycling, Tennis and Basketball.
GB/EEA (Thomas Cook): the official Break Provider of London 2012 continues to offer a variety of ticket and hotel packages, including offers with Swimming and Athletics tickets. They are expected to release more sessions with hotel combinations in the run-up to the Games.
To the future
For avid ticket-hunters, like the incomparable 2012Tweeps, every sale feels like it’s the last one, yet the overall chase has continued to show that more opportunities emerge and present themselves. Much is unknown about how leftover tickets both on the LOCOG, and ATR side, will be sold at Games time. Many live ATRs are relying on buyer panic to resort to ‘blinking first‘ and paying high prices for additional (and often unwanted) hospitality and hotel deals.
This is likely to transition, and resellers such as CoSport and the recent Viagogo/Ariesta partnership in Spain will be ones to watch over the next month or two.
Darker horse ATRs, such as Baltic Clipper in Lithuania are planning their own sales of remaining tickets in the weeks ahead and the landscape as a whole is shifting at quite a pace.
Buyers need to remain discerning and patient, using popular channels and resources to gather intelligence on upcoming sales. There are still plenty of tickets out there, and the fact that LOCOG are now back on the case selling their own tickets may just force some dormant European ATRs into a final frenzy of competition for sales.
Don’t forget the Paralympics!
In the midst of all the Olympic ticket announcements, the sale for all the remaining Paralympic tickets commences on 21/5. This will be a fantastic sale which should bring many Athletics and Swimming finals tickets back into play, along with some well-priced Ceremony tickets. The recent test events at the Olympic Park have shown the public and press alike the power of the Paralympic movement and the depth of quality and talent leading nations possess.
The Paralympics remain a great opportunity to see top class sport at very reasonable prices in what will be the swan song for the Marshgate Lane site as we know it in 2012.
Read more about me and London 2012.