Hit or Miss? The sight of empty Olympic seats sparks a media backlash

Space to fill Part-empty stadia at the Olympics led to a media storm this week.

LOCOG said accredited groups such as governing bodies and the media were to blame and brought in the army to fill some of the seats. It also took 3,000 tickets from international federations and offered them to the public. Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt suggested those who failed to take their seats within 30 minutes of the start of an event could lose them.

HOW I SEE IT - Tim Fallon, Managing partner, corporate practice, College Group

This is not a new problem for host cities. Beijing and Athens both suffered with empty seat syndrome but London's compounded problem is it follows a hugely difficult ticket allocation system.

Everyone has a dinner party tale of frustration in trying to get tickets in the lead-up to the Games so to see empty plastic seats now is doubly galling.

That said, the Government needs to think carefully before automatically drafting in the army for every problem. The real opportunity is for a sponsor to move in and gain credit by quickly releasing tickets on a standby scheme - yet no-one wants to put their hands up. Seems churlish, given the successful opening ceremony and transport arrangements, but a definite miss.


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