Monday, 18 October 2010

London 2012 - A small price to pay?

Last week ticket prices for the London 2012 Olympic Games were announced - and what a mixed bag they offered up.

Amidst fanstastic schemes to keep tickets accessible, including a 'pay your age' scheme for under 16s and the inclusion of a London Travelcard with all Games tickets, little bombshells were also dropped sporadically into the mix, including some tickets for the opening ceremony on sale for £2,012.

But notice how such prices are not advertised as forcefully on the official London 2012 website as their 'accessible pricing schemes' - i wonder why? Embarrassment, maybe?

It's also only apparent in the smallprint that whilst youngsters can pay their age to see some events, this offer will only be in operation for some of the Games - presumably the blue-riband, 100m men's final will be off limits...

And whilst it's great that many tickets are priced as low as £20, how many people will want to sit up in the Gods watching those epic basketballing nations of India and Poland slog it out in the preliminaries - even if it is 'just' £20? Prices for the basketball final, on the other hand, range from a mildly acceptable £95 to £425 - a sum to make even legend Michael Jordan choke on his caviar.

And the best of it is that they're not even the most expensive. Brace for the finals of the diving, artistic gymnastics, swimming and beach volleyball are on sale for the small sum of £450...and that's before the touts get involved!

Admittedly there will be sections of the public (namely long-coated, sex-starved, middle-aged men with rather sizeable face-furniture and an aversion to the dentist but with a liking for certain questionable websites) willing to pay these lofty prices for events such as women's beach volleyball, but not your average sports fan and certainly not your average Stratford resident.

Seb Coe and LOCOG have constantly spouted the need to keep tickets accessible, to repay taxpayers whose money has funded the Games and to get youngsters involved with the view to a sporting future.

Great, couldn't agree more. But the prices announced last Friday have done little to support these promises. And are we surprised? Probably not one little bit.

What LOCOG are essentially saying with their pricing structure is - "We've tried to make ourselves look good with a few value for money deals and prices, but to get to any events of note you'll have to remortgage your house. But if you want cheap tickets, there's always the synchronised swimming preliminaries, after all, beggars can't be choosers."

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