An investigation has been launched by the London 2012 organisers Locog after large numbers of empty seats were evident in multiple sporting venues on the opening day of the Games.Predictably, LOCOG fall in neatly with the authoritarian theme of these games with their response.
Despite tickets for the events being sold out, television images revealed scores of empty seats at the swimming, dressage, volleyball and tennis.
Commentators noted the unfilled seats and members of the public who were unable to purchase tickets took to social media websites like Twitter to express their anger.
"[...] we are in the process of finding out who should have been in the seats and why they weren’t there.”Quite an ugly undertone there, I thought. What are they going to do? Start issuing fines? Punish those who are not overwhelmingly positive with a blacklisting for future sporting events? Send someone round to put the frighteners on?
They've obviously never heard of the proverb "no crying over spilt milk", as investigating who should have been there and why they didn't attend is hardly going to fill seats for an event that has already taken place, is it?
Yes, I'm aware it's merely a kneejerk public relations exercise prompted by the screams of outrage from disgruntled fans who were not able to procure tickets, but they perhaps shouldn't have been in that position in the first place.
For example, search eBay for Olympics 2012 tickets - and I mean ones which have yet to be used - and you won't find any as they've been deemed a banned item. I'm sure eBay would have been happy for users to list them so must assume that re-selling has been frowned on by LOCOG and pressure put on sites which could re-allocate tickets to those who really want them.
I know this because, unbeknownst to me, the boy little P put himself into a school ballot for tickets and managed to get two for the basketball. I had no inclination to arrive - according to the accompanying literature - two hours prior to the event to ensure I passed security, as well as not relishing spending seven hours being ripped off for refreshments in a non-smoking venue where there is no re-entry (you leave, you stay outside) to watch one of the few sports I don't understand and couldn't give a chuff about. So he is going with a couple of friends and their parents, leaving my ticket unused.
Someone, somewhere might really like to use that ticket, but I'm not allowed to know who they are as I can't sell it by the usual method of finding a happy recipient of junk I don't need.
What is valuable to me is not the same as what is valuable to someone else. That's how the free market works.
There is much angst that the tickets being unused could be corporate freebies, but they're not free. They've cost the corporations much more than most people would be prepared to pay for them, and if they result in empty seats, so what? If LOCOG demand that they should be returned, are they going to refund the sponsorship they received for the privilege? I'll let you make your own conclusions on that.
So what's the reason that tickets aren't allowable on eBay? Almost definitely because they don't want them going to those hideous people who can afford to pay a lot of money for them. The inevitable result of such ideology is the empty seats that social media users are getting right upset about. But what's the difference? If they were corporate tickets, they were unavailable anyway - the fact they weren't used is irrelevant.
What did they expect? Businesses to pay top dollar for them only to give them away gratis? And, even so, how are the companies expected to know if those they have given tickets to are going to attend or not? Are they to be as dictatorial with their terms as LOCOG?
Excluding the free market from ticketing arrangements is quite obviously going to result in empty seats. If you receive tickets for an event you don't fancy, you'd try to shift them to someone who does. If that fails, and you're not allowed to sell them, the bums don't reach the seats.
If LOCOG wanted packed stadiums for every event, and if Olympics fans wanted a better chance of being able to secure tickets for the spectacle, perhaps those who were organising London 2012 should have been less righteous and at least given the free market a chance.
Not doing so seems to have left just about everyone unhappy.