Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bad PR for London Olympics Already?

In just the first week of the London Olympic Games, LOCOG, the organizers of the games are already receiving ridicule and complaints from fans who were denied access to purchasing tickets to events such as football and swimming. If you turned on the TV at any time this week to watch any of those events, you surely would have noticed the abundance of empty seats. For an Olympics that was said to have sold all of their tickets, they sure have a lot of people not showing up.

LOCOG claims that the empty seats belong to family members and Olympic sponsors, the total being over 1.1 million seats in all. After all of the complaints, LOCOG announced that they would be releasing 3000 more tickets on Monday, July 30. However, I've been watching the past two days and I'm still seeing many more open seats than I ever remember from an Olympic game, and yet I am still unable to find tickets to anything! Now, not only are the fans becoming upset, but the athletes are outraged as well. They are disappointed with their apparent lack of fans. How is this going to affect the reputation of the London Olympics after the games are over. Can LOCOG still solve this problem and salvage their reputation?

Being from Atlanta and having attended the games when they were hosted there, I know how one mistake can cloud the world's opinion on the games as a whole after the bombings that occurred that killed two people. It was a tragic incident that lowered people's opinions on whether a city like Atlanta was fit to handle such a huge event. If these stands don't fill up soon, will the London Olympics forever be known as the games that had no fans in their stands?

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  1. Teresa, Ellie, and I were lucky enough to find women's indoor volleyball tickets yesterday morning for last night's preliminary games. Most of the people we talked to had also bought their tickets the day of the event, but there were still dozens of open seats in the arena. This event may not be as popular as others, however, when two undefeated teams (USA and China) compete against each other at 8 pm, I expected there to be a full house.
    I definitely think these open seats are a result of bad PR, but tickets are also very overpriced. This is the first summer olympics since worldwide economies have recessed and suffered, so I was surprised that some events were still charging a minimum of $100 per ticket. Maybe LOCOG thinks this is the price that the seats are worth and lowering them would lose them some money. However, if cheaper prices would increase attendance, at least some money is being paid and seats are being filled. This is somewhat better than where it is right now.

  2. I think the London Olympics are already tarnished by the lack of attendance. Even if every seat is full for the next week, which most likely will not happen, the damage has been done. I also highly doubt that all those empty seats are family members and sponsors seats. Any family who had a ticket to see their children compete would be present and I know for a fact sponsors would either attend or give those tickets others who would attend. This seems to be terrible planning by the LOCOG and an attempt to place the blame on other people.

    This has definitely put a damper on the entire olympics and will hurt London's reputation. It is annoying seeing empty seats yet being unable to find a ticket.

  3. The attendance rate for these games has been truly pitiful, and I don’t know that they will be able to recover, as some significant damage has already been done. On the same note, however, I agree with Kate. I don’t know what they could have done to boost attendance, apart from antics similar to that of UGA’s student ticket system, but that’s not realistic for this type of event and venue. Perhaps Mary Anne’s idea pertaining to costs could curb some of the effects, but it’s all speculation until further action is taken.