London 2012 organisers defend Games ticket policy

12:56 14 November 2012

The Olympic Park. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA

The Olympic Park. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Olympic organisers were pressed this morning on the number of affordable tickets made available to people who wanted to watch the Games.

Olympic Games total sales - selected sports

Athletics

Total saleable capacity: 946,752

Total sold: 944,345

Ceremony

Total saleable capacity: 104,149

Total sold: 103,865

Cycling - track

Total saleable capacity: 38,301

Total sold: 37,966

Football

Total saleable capacity: 2,088,078

Total sold: 1,874,854

In tense exchanges between Lord Deighton and members of the London Assembly at City Hall, the Locog chief executive defended the allocation for regular visitors in some venues and denied withholding data on the number of tickets sold for each Olympics session.

Lord Deighton invited members to Locog offices to view the full set figures, because “there was just too much of it”.

“We have tried to give you enough data here rather than a data dump,” he said, in response to accusations he had not provided the information promised to the committe earlier this year.

“There is so much here we have had to aggregate it.

It was disclosed yesterday that 319,000 Games tickets went unsold - but the majority of these were for early rounds of Olympic football, which was staged up and down the country.

Lord Deighton added: “The people who were successful in getting tickets were the people who were persistent in all rounds,” he said.

“One of the things that we were committed to was that anybody who (bid) in the first round and was unsuccessful got priority in the second round.

“Of course it’s true that for higher price tickets there are fewer people who are able to (bid for them), everybody knows that.”

Lord Deighton also defended the pricing levels for tickets as “competitive” and said he not heard any negative feedback on the pricing of some tickets.

“We could have charged much higher,” he added. “We actually gave 300,000 tickets away.”

And after City of London and East Assembly member John Biggs implied Locog had merely discarded its unwanted tickets, Lord Deighton replied: “We could have sold these tickets 100 times over but we chose to give them away.”

“Everything that I said about tickets was how the game played out in the end.”

Both were also questioned on the number of tickets that went unsold at athletics events and touched again on the swathes of empty seats seen in accredited seats in some venues.

Lord Deighton pointed at tickets being unsold around the cauldron in the Olympic Stadium to allow for testing to see if they were suitable for public use.

He said: “The tickets that weren’t sold were tickets that we kept in contingency. We wanted to make sure that nobody got burnt.

“What we would have done with those seats would have been to put in a Games Maker or off-duty military person.

“At very late notice it might have been possible (to sell them).”

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