LOCOG Olympics media storm 'wholly avoidable' says PR chief

LOCOG's organisation of the ticketing process for the 2012 Olympics is leading to a crisis on both social and traditional media that is 'wholly avoidable', according to one consumer PR chief.

LOCOG Olympics: ticketing process criticised
LOCOG Olympics: ticketing process criticised

1.2 million people missed out on seats in the first ballot round of ticketing, which closed last night.

The second phase opened at 6am this morning, releasing 2.3 million tickets on a first-come-first-served basis, and the Olympic ticketing website stopped working briefly after being launched.

Headlines this morning have focused on the crashed website and the possibility arising of a black market for tickets due to the way the ticketing system works.

Meanwhile, criticism of the system filled Twitter. FT chief media correspondent Ben Fenton tweeted: ‘Got 2 great seats to 2013 public inquiry into 2012 #Olympic tickets fiasco. Thrilled.’

Speed Communications MD Stephen Waddington said of the issue: ‘The ticketing process has been awful. You don't need check out the grumbling on Facebook or Twitter, mainstream media journalists who themselves have failed to get tickets have led on the issue.’

Waddington added that the situation was ‘wholly avoidable’.

‘They should have been more transparent, and the web infrastructure put in place to support the massive albeit temporary spike in web traffic.’

Shine Communications founder and MD Rachel Bell added that it will damage 2012’s reputation.

Bell said: ‘My Twitter account was a seething mass of angry Olympic ticket hunters and it was immediately clear that the ticket site was struggling to cope. I turned on the radio and the Today programme was already covering it.

‘It's grist to the mill for those who doubt the UK's ability to successfully pull of the logistics around the Games. It's also obviously affecting those consumers already disgruntled through failing to obtain tickets in the first round. If ever the phrase rubbing salt into the wound was more apposite.’

A LOCOG spokeswoman responded: 'The ticket website did not crash this morning. It has been processing transactions since 6 am. For a short period of time - actually around 20 minutes - some customers were ìheld back at the gatesî whilst those already online processed their transactions.

‘We have had a busy morning, and some sports already no longer have availability, which shows the scale of demand for Olympic tickets. The Olympic ticketing programme is one of the most complex ticketing programmes ever undertaken in this country. From 15th March, we have been selling tickets for 650 sessions across 26 sports, 35 venues, at a range of price points. 3 million tickets were sold in the first round, and 2.3 million are available in the second round. We are determined to get as many tickets as possible into the hands of the British public.

‘We recognise that people are disappointed and are determined to get as many tickets as possible into the hands of the British public.’

Picture credit: London 2012

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