The 2012 ticket race: Better to have loved and lost… a pair of Handball tickets
A year today, the headlines will all be about an event lasting no more than ten seconds over in London’s East End. And no, it doesn’t involve a West Ham player engaged in a nefarious activity…
The Men’s 100m final (or AT005 for those in the know) will be run at the exact mid-point of the London 2012 games. A pair of tickets for this event are amongst the most sought-after in the world right now. I want a pair. I know many more who do. I had pinned my hopes on securing a pair among the million odd who tried as part of the official UK ballot, run by LOCOG earlier this year.
I failed alas – along with attempts to grab Opening Ceremony, Track Cycling and Swimming tickets. But in recent weeks I’ve come to realise that the ticket race far from ended for many Brits. There is actually a dedicated, hardcore contingent who have been all over the European resellers for months and have been successful in securing premier tickets. I have been very late in arriving to the party but have been incredibly impressed by the humour, dedication and knowledge-share of a contingent of guys and gals on Twitter. Many of whom I now share mutual ‘followship’ with. Details on ticket sales are shared, speculation pored over. It’s certainly brought a lot of excitement to an otherwise frustrating period.
With one year to go I, like many other London 2012 fans with tickets, want more tickets. Everything feels more and more real as the days pass by. Knowing what I know now, I only wish I was more proactive three or four months ago when it came to the tickets. The fact is, Brits have had the chance to snap-up sessions from over twelve European destinations. The German reseller, Dertour, gained the most publicity but in recent weeks the French reseller (Eventeam) and Swiss reseller (Globetrotter) have offered plum seats to Athletics, Track Cycling, Diving and Basketball among others. Last weekend, hundreds of Britons flooded the inboxes of two Slovakian resellers offering many more tickets. Italy and Finland are actively selling too.
The reality is that the 2012 ticket race is far from over. Europe still holds promise for many. And with a fabulous community present on social media channels like Twitter, it’s not too late for those without tickets to get in the race and grab a piece of the action.
I did some independent investigation of the European scene a few weeks ago and it introduced me to a magnificent website run by a gentleman called Neil Douglas who has done something that has put most other efforts to shame. It is a must-have resource for ticket hunters everywhere. I’ll still keep scratching and hustling around because I’m a tortured journalist in a way, but the big boy stuff is best left to Neil’s majestic depository.
So what’s happening in the UK?
Lots of speculation as to when the infamous third ballot of London 2012 tickets will go on sale in the UK. I don’t have a direct source, per se, but believe we’ll hear nothing until after the conclusion of the Paralympic Games sale in September. What feels certain is that it will definitely be before Christmas – Wenlock and Mandeville being all mischievous; a slogan like ‘Give the gift of tickets this Christmas…’ (did I say I was Don Draper?)… Canary Wharf will be positively quaking in glee.
Interestingly, as an aside, with all the European resellers zealously offering packages only, there will be a lot of tickets left over which poses the question as to whether there may even be a fourth ballot in 2012 to ensure the remaining tickets are sold. I know for a fact that Russia have got tickets for pretty much everything and the sale is proceeding at a moderate pace (one suspects it’s all about Sochi 2014 for them). Lord Coe has implored NOCs around the world to turn-in unsold tickets as soon as possible so an interesting dilemma awaits, especially in Europe. Given the success enjoyed by several sales already, will a reseller really want to return tickets knowing they can offer them to a hungry marketplace and enjoy anything up to a 30% mark-up?
Where does one find 30%?
A big topic of discussion in London currently is the transport issue. The network (i.e. Underground, Overground, buses etc.) needs existing users to ease off for a core period of 17 days next year during the Games to allow for all the extra visitors. Lots of people seem to be viewing it all with great anger and suspicion. I would’ve thought the chance to work from home for a week or two, enjoying the sun and some great sport on the tube would counter any sufferance. One only hopes employers see sense in the New Year. London is counting on it.
I was at the ‘1 year to go’ bash at Trafalgar Square the other week and while being present to hear IOC President Jacques Rogge invite the “athletes of the world…” to London was a genuine lump-in-throat moment, seeing the live pictures of Tom Daley’s dive at the Aquatics Centre was a complete thrill. The venue looks magnificent, as do all of the major build projects in the Olympic Park. For all the derision we, an often fickle and misguided public dish out, Britain can actually deliver magnificent infrastructure and design. I’m only left angry now reading about how humble we should be compared to Beijing. Our stadia will be full and look amazing, which is more than can be said for the Games in 2008. We can not only be equals of that Olympiad – we can be the greatest.
Sad to report that my hopes of contributing to the Games directly through British Airways’ Great Britons competition ended this week following a rejection of my film idea. Between that and missing out on plum Slovakian tickets it’s possibly been the first real period where I’ve fallen out of the love with the London games. I hope it won’t last too long – I suspect it won’t. I still have hope; after all, this is the Olympics!