The 2012 ticket race - A seller’s market?
Many of the athletes aspiring to compete in London this summer are familiar with the expression known as ‘hitting the wall.’ It was even deconstructed quite nicely in the genteel 2007 movie ‘Run Fatboy Run’.
Ticketmaster, the appointed ticketing agent of London 2012 hit their latest wall just over a week ago with the failure of their Resale website. The site was taken down some 24 hours after launch and a week has passed without a firm resolution. It’s clear that senior figures and technical leads have been looking at a number of solutions and now sources indicate that when the Resale site opens (which could be as early as today), the user experience will have significantly changed and - most critically, be focused on allowing those who want to sell their tickets only. There would be no onward ‘resale’ element to allow buyers to come on and purchase the unwanted tickets.
The BBC have taken the lead on this approach and intimate that LOCOG’s focus will be on getting back all the unwanted tickets as a priority and so ensuring that touting efforts are impacted. This strikes as a very risky move: in saying to sellers they will pick-up all unwanted tickets at face value, there is a strong chance that many Football, Volleyball and Wrestling tickets will be returned. Considering these are the sports that have been the hardest to shift both domestically and across ATR sales, there is a good chance many could remain unsold right up to Games time.
Furthermore, merging any resale tickets with the magic ‘million’ planned for LOCOG sale 3 in the Spring poses more questions around how that will eventually be handled. Trust and confidence in Ticketmaster being able to handle a ‘first-come, first-served’ sale is rock bottom.
This blog has theorised an idea of splitting the spring sale into two, given the proximity of the London Prepares events. Adding a plethora of resale tickets only further intensifies the options available to purchase tickets through the official channels in the UK.
Of course, the speculation could prove to be a red herring - and that maybe a sale ‘window’ will open shortly after a period of resale activity. Interestingly, this could give preference to those who missed out in the first two LOCOG sales in 2011 - so making the third sale in Spring a clean race for all would-be parties interested in buying, and negating one of the more difficult intricacies that came from the sale process to date.
Many have vented their anger over the process and now ticket-hunters ultimately have to wait to see what emerges. The wall will be broken shortly, but will Ticketmaster stay the course to the finish line?
Chatter is high around the next major ATR sale, which will see Germany’s Dertour put their remaining tickets up for sale on January 25. Details are fluid, but expect an AM start and a first-come, first-served system. Slovakia’s Kolumbus recently issued an e-mail underlying their remaining travel and ticket packages for London 2012 - they have a lot of interesting tickets left and will definitely be one to watch in the next month or two should they revert to a straight ticket sale. Scandinavia’s CoSport inventory of available tickets for both the Olympics and Paralympics is starting to dwindle, so any interested buyers should move quickly - the same goes for France’s Eventeam. Finland’s ATR have a small number of tickets available, but they are within the pricier categories.
Belgium’s Suseia appear to have closed their sale period, but it is unconfirmed whether they will release more tickets soon. Switzerland’s Globetrotter have now confirmed that they are sold-out. Cyprus’ Topkinesis and Luxembourg’s Emile Weber have shown flickers of availability in recent days, but remain untested quantities. This applies also to the Czech Republic’s Ticketstream.
Read more about me and London 2012.