Saturday 28 July 2012

Well, If You Insist On Stifling The Free Market ...

Questions are being asked about this, but I'm pretty sure they won't come up with the correct answers.
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.

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.
Predictably, LOCOG fall in neatly with the authoritarian theme of these games with their response.
"[...] 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.


Disgusted with LOCOG said...

DP-LOCOG have spent the past 5 months trying to explain why they deemd the entire complex as non smoking-even totally UNenclosed areas. I explained that our local club had 40 members, each of whom has saved approx £5,000 apiece over the past 4 years for this sporting extravaganza. I explained to them, quite politely, that without this knowledge of 'smoking allowed' arrangements the group/organisation would not be investing any of the £200,000 saved in an event or a city area that clearly did not welcome them. Due to a dearth of responses from LOCOG detailing where they can smoke, the group/organisation are now spending their 'hard earned', quite Bulgaria!
ps...LOCOG wouldn't respond to 'athletes smoking marijuana as a relaxant' either, so it seems that LOCOG had de3cided that smoking was banned but couldn't really answer why!
Free markets & freedom of choice Dick? :)

Churchmouse said...

Maybe the ticket holders of the empty seats are smokers choosing to boycott a venue where smoking is banned outdoors? Just a (tongue-in-cheek) thought ... ;) 

Great post, Dick. This restrictive ticket system bit the organisers in the proverbial. Kids up and down the land should have had a chance to see a once-in-a-lifetime sporting event.

Single acts of tyranny said...

They could of course ensure that all events are full from Monday by now simply removing the ban on re-sales.  Touts could not now buy large numbers and, shock horror make profits, people inclined to watch this dross, could now do so.

Don't expect an outbreak of sanity anytime soon.

Furor Teutonicus said...

The only reason the company selling tickets could give a twopenny ducks shit about empty seats, is if it is "pay on the door", surely?

I buy a tin of baked beans, and never eat them, does Tesco go into "WTF you doin' with our tin of beans?" mode?

Mag01 said...

O/T (apologies)


Some may be interested in a little more information on the “Chapman
Trick”. See comments section at:


truckerlyn said...

From today, apparently, according to BBC News, the empty seats will be given to troops, teachers, etc in the areas around the Olympic Arena.

Fine, I suppose, as far as it goes, but I am sure there are many people up and down the country who would sooner have had tickets to some of these events (they probably applied but got alternatives instead) and would be delighted to see some up for re-sale so they have that opportunity.

Pretty well the whole thing, so far, has been a farce!  Did we really expect any different?  I didn't!

Of course, the point on smoking, above, could well have a lot to do with empty seats!

Was just talking to a non smoker in town who has just got back from the US and she couldn't believe that smoking was banned in Central Park and in another state (can't remember which one) on the train system there were signs saying that if caught smoking you could be fined $50, be sent to prison for 10 days or BOTH!

How long 'til that catches on here, I wonder!!

Mudplugger said...

The sordid truth is that the empty seats were those LOCOG was obliged by the IOC to provide for officials of all national sporting associations.  You will recognise those paragons of virtue as the bent big-wigs of FIFA or the IPL or the Nigerian Ice-Skating Club (if there even is one).

Historically, these tickets were always immediately shovelled into the touting network, the cash flowing into the pockets of those corrupt officials.  The downside of modern security controls is that this 'bonus bung' is far too difficult now, so the seats remain empty.

It's just a very public demonstration of how corrupt the whole 'blazered' sports world is - something which would have stayed concealed were it not for the accidental effects of security.