2.5m people scramble for tickets as website strugglesBy Avril Ormsby, London - Saturday, August 04, 2012
About 2.5m people a day are fighting to get their hands on Olympic tickets with pressure on the ticketing website running right through the night, organisers said.
Demand appears to have been boosted by Great Britain’s strong performance in the medals table and the start of the track and field events in the main stadium.
Frustration with an online system that has been unable to cope with demand has been compounded by footage of empty seats in so-called accredited areas set aside for Olympic officials, sports federations, national Olympic committees, athletes, and the media.
London Olympic organisers Locog asked those who do not intend to use their seats to give them up, and have trimmed the seating in an effort to make more tickets available to the public.
But one in five of the accredited seats remained empty yesterday.
Locog urged sports fans to persevere. "A lot of them are applying for the same things, so obviously as they get to the check-out, they find that someone else has pipped them to the post and the product is not there that they’ve ordered," a spokeswoman said.
She said 100,000 tickets had been sold during a 48-hour period, but tens of thousands remained.
"So it is about persistence," she said.
"People are going into the system, they are successfully buying tickets, they are successfully attending the Games.
"But the sheer volume of people on the site, all through the day and all through the night, by the way, is vast."
Locog has reclaimed thousands of accredited seats, including 2,400 for athletics, and sold them within hours.
The last-minute sales have boosted the occupancy rate in accredited areas from 60% on Tuesday to 81%. No figures were available for earlier in the week, when vacancies were at their highest.
About 75% of the total 8.8m tickets were sold to the British public.
Spectator occupancy in all venues was 92% on Thursday.
Locog put another 275,000 tickets on sale this week, mainly for football, which became available after logistics such as TV camera positions were sorted out.
Today is expected to be one of the busiest days so far at the Games, and the attendance is set to surpass the 135,000 on Thursday.
Westfield Stratford City shopping mall, the gateway to London’s Olympic Park, will be shut today to people without tickets to try and manage the crowds.