I would like to thank the organisers of the London 2012 Olympics for making the ticket application process so arduous, irritating and buttock-clenchingly expensive that I gave up on it in a thoroughly bad temper yesterday evening. In retrospect, however, I am rather gleeful: I’ve saved a potential sackload of cash! Today I have also been hearing about friends, and friends of friends, who panicked and now face paying thousands if their numbers come up…
To the uninitiated, I should explain that some time ago in the UK, we were all told that we could apply for Olympics tickets via the London Olympics website. The most expensive tickets were priced at £725 each but for many events, the prices would begin at £20. Demand was predicted to be high, so we were encouraged to get in there and make our applications. Because demand was expected to outstrip supply by such a hefty margin, somethin akin to a ballot was planned. So you could apply for tickets for whatever event or events you wanted, but you won’t know if you have seats until next month when the lucky numbers are drawn.
It sounds good in principle, yes? In reality, of course, most of us left it until the last possible minute (i.e. yesterday evening) and then went berserking all over the Olympics website.
I’m not very sporty and when I went on the website, my ticket applications were relatively modest I think. I asked for two tickets for the women’s artistic gymnastics finals, four tickets for that night near the end when they do the men’s and women’s sprint relay races, and two tickets for the synchronised swimming. (Yes, that is a core Olympic sport – I will not tolerate any views to the contrary.) So, a chance to win up to eight tickets in the lower price categories. It was still more than £700 though. I baulked.
There were a couple of other things that annoyed me, in addition to the cheap-but-not-really-cheap prices.
Firstly, Visa is an official sponsor of the 2012 Olympics and it was decreed that in order to apply for tickets, you had to own a Visa card. No Visa card, no tix. What a swizz!
Secondly, you had to enter your Visa card details right there and then – so that when the ballot takes place next month, the 2012 Olympics organisers will deduct the prices of tickets won from your Visa credit card balance or bank account at some point between May and June. Cashflow alert… Of course nobody knows yet how many tickets they are going to win, but you can see why some of those who have potentially splashed out thousands are getting nervous.
Thirdly, if you win too many tickets and you can’t afford to pay for them all, tough. Martin Lewis reports that after the monies are deducted, you will have to wait until early 2012 if you want to sell them on. He also reports that there isn’t a seating plan yet, “so how do we know what expensive tickets actually mean”?
I appreciate that its handy for the organisers to have all that ticket revenue landing with a big WHUMP in their bank account next month, but it is (literally) at the consumer’s expense. It’s a system that puts the Olympics organisers first, the Olympics fans last – and left lots of people fretting about what they may have committed themselves to. I’d hate that.
I may not be going to the Olympics, but I’ll still enjoy watching the gymnastics, the relay races and the synchronised swimming on the telly, while drinking tea and working out what I’d rather spend £700 on. Explosions of indignation have their upsides.
Image credit: uwdigitalcollections.