The 2014 ticket race: Keep calm, and… you know the rest
There is something to be said for comfort. The familiar. Knowing what tangibles a certain something will bring. Like a battered jumper in the winter, that which brings so much warmth compared to that sparkly new one you just picked up.
And so, with the ticket gates opening to the promised land that is Glasgow 2014 on Monday morning, it was comforting to see that the sprit and passion of London 2012 hasn’t subsided, nor has Ticketmaster (the official ticket seller of 2014) managed to find a way to deal with those nasty spikes in website traffic. The five-ringed circus may have left our shores a year ago, but some of that madness remains intact.
And mad you must have been to’ve rushed onto the Glasgow website and been one of the many to have slowed it down considering you have a whole month to get that all-important first application in! I guess the only people smiling at the end of day, really truly, were the Commonwealth Games organisers who can start to breathe easy now that demand looks set to outpace supply.
So the race starts here. And the rules are pretty easy to grasp at this stage:
1. Like the very first stage of ticket applications for London 2012, Glasgow 2014 is running a manual ballot. That means you choose which events you’d like to go to, how many tickets you want and how much you are prepared to pay. Visit glasgow2014.com or use the postal facility and so submit your application into the ballot.
2. You have 4 weeks to get your application into the ballot! Organisers say that there will be no advantage given to eager beavers or Johnny-come-latelies: as long as your completed application is in the hat by the closing date (6pm, 16/9!), you are in the race.
3. Glasgow organisers are keen to learn from some of the issues had with the London Olympics, promising proper controls and communications around billing for tickets and ensuring allocations are transparent. The ‘Increase Your Chance’ option in applications is a key innovation, allowing keener buyers to be united with the tickets they want.
4. There is no card provider sponsor, so Visa and Mastercard will be accepted for applications!
5. It will be one application per household, with limits on the number of tickets you can apply for depending on the session.
If you want to jump the queues and process, the ATR system – made famous by the work of the #2012Tweeps – is available, provided you have access to the relevant countries and territories. Unlike London 2012, when there was an array of European resellers Britons could exploit, the Commonwealth has far fewer EEA nations – so now’s definitely the time to get friendly with that uncle in Nauru!
Of course, dealing with ATRs means you are liable to pay mark-ups on the ticket costs (average is around 20%, which are perfectly legal within the reseller rules) and quite steep shipping prices.
What should you apply for?
Ultimately, for the average punter seeking tickets, focus on quality not quantity. If the London 2012 ticket race taught anyone anything, it’s that there will be second and third bites of the cherry the closer to Games time. If there are one or two events you are really keen to see, focus your resources on that and utilise the chance increase function.
London 2012 threw up lots of dazzling scenarios after the first ballot, so it is unlikely there will be a sweet science to deducing what the best way will be to secure those precious tickets. Indications from previous CWG goers suggest the chances of success (that is, getting some tickets from your application) are likely to be better compared to the Olympics. But the spikes of demand on Monday suggest that Glasgow could be set for unprecedented interest.
Unlike London, which concentrated stadia in the Olympic Park on the east side of the capital, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will be spread across the city, so plan your applications with this in mind – the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome is not a ten minute walk away from Hampden Park!
As for sport, well… You’re spolit for choice! All the old favourites will be there (Athletics, Track Cycling, Swimming), along with some that promise to be pretty special (Rugby Sevens, Squash, Netball). And don’t forget there will be ceremonies to look forward to as well as an extensive cultural programme.
17 sports, 14 venues, 11 days - it’s not chance that makes the Commonwealth Games the third largest multi-sport event in the world.
So grab that cosy jumper, print out the ticketing guide and start marking-up your wishlist. The clock is ticking..! And while you’re at it, watch uber-Tweep @Matt_Shoreditch talk about tickets and Glasgow…