/ Travel & Leisure

Is it game over if you didn’t get Olympic tickets?

2012 Olympic games tickets poster

Did you get any Olympic tickets? If so, congratulations! But what of the many who didn’t and are left disappointed and empty-handed? What are the chances of success second-time round – and what tickets will be left?

Well, that’s that then. I’ve just checked my bank account and there’s a distinct lack of debits today.

That would usually be a good thing, but today of course is a different matter – it officially means I won’t be getting charged by Locog. And that means no Olympic tickets.

Many left empty-handed

Thanks to the strange ticketing system Locog has come up with, checking our bank account is the only way to tell if we’ve got any tickets. And even then we won’t know which events we’ve got tickets for, as Kathryn Roberts (@fwinroberts) told us on Twitter:

‘Money has gone out of my account so looks like I have Olympic tickets! I don’t know what they are for – but don’t care! I don’t mind if they are not that good – just want to have the experience of the Olympics – I’m very lucky.’

Indeed you are, Kathryn. According to Locog, one in seven people who have applied in this round will be unsuccessful – which means that ‘at least’ 250,000 households will be left with nothing.

A quick straw poll around the Which? office, friends and our Twitter followers shows many people are in the same ‘no tickets’ boat as me. And it seems that I shouldn’t beat myself up for not applying for more. One colleague applied for 16 tickets to the value of almost £600 and got nothing – another tried for 20 tickets and still ended up empty-handed.

Second time lucky?

So, what’s next for us unfortunate ones? A second round of sales will take place in late June, giving unsuccessful first-round applicants priority on a first-come-first-served basis. Later, everyone will be able to apply for any remaining tickets.

Sounds fair in theory but as another Tweeter, @murkee, pointed out, some will still be left short:

‘I applied for about £1,000, most as a couple, some singles for missus. We got one single. As my missus got one, we won’t get first dibs in July. Looks like I’m not going at all. Grr!’

And I’m curious to know what tickets are actually left. Many of the people I’ve spoken to went for cheaper events and early rounds and got nothing. Does this mean these are being kept for resale – or that these events are sold out and only pricey ones are left? If it’s the latter then many of us will be priced out altogether.

Ticketing the biggest UK event of the decade was never going to be easy, so I have some sympathy for the organisers. But couldn’t there be a bit more transparency about which tickets have been allocated and which remain? That way, we can apply more sensibly next time round and avoid manically over-bidding on tickets we can’t even afford.

mike says:
9 June 2011

Spent a long time choosing tickets thinking about what are children and ourselves would like to see and what dates etc, We chose three events and got nothing at all. too much hassle for nothing. Might try to see some of the free events.

Well, emails for the second round are now going out with the second round of ticket applications:

“We would like to invite you to take advantage of an exclusive opportunity to purchase some of the remaining tickets, in advance of those customers who were allocated tickets in the initial application phase.

“From 6am on 24 June until 6pm on 3 July 2011 you will be able to request some of the remaining tickets on the London 2012 ticketing website.

“These tickets will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. They cover a great range of Olympic sports including Athletics, Basketball, Football, Handball, Hockey and Volleyball.

“During this second chance sales window you will only be able to submit one application, and you will be able to apply for a maximum of three sessions.”

First come first serve, and a limit on the amount of sessions – seems quite a bit fairer this time. However, I’ve had a look at the availability and what’s left all seem to be the most expensive tickets. Oh well… have you had one of these emails?

Dan says:
1 July 2011

Failed to get any tickets through the first ballot.
Tickets I wanted were available at 6.00am on Friday 24th. When I tried to purchase these the Verified by Visa site would not accept my card. Many calls to Barclaycard later and my card is still blocked by Visa due to multiple attempts to purchase tickets!
All sold out now. Couldn’t even buy a package through Thomas Cook.

Barclaycard / Visa / Locog all blaming each other.

This whole process has been so frustrating. How can the Visa monopoly be legal?

Any ideas on what to do next. Locog suggest I try my luck again in December when a further batch go on sale on a first come first served basis. To be honest I ain’t feeling lucky!

Wiggy says:
18 August 2011

I was Invited to apply for second round tickets by email on 17/06/2011 on a “first come, first served” basis as I was totally unsuccessful in the first round.

My alarm sounded at 5:45am on 24/06/2011 and I eventually managed to add three tickets to my basket and successfully complete the checkout process by about 6:20am.

I was immediately suspicious however when I received an London 2012 email with the phrase “You will receive an email within 48 hours confirming which tickets, if any, you have been allocated, subject to successful payment.”

The invitation email clearly stated “first come, first served” but despite “buying” & “paying” for the tickets I wanted, I was, yet again, unsuccessful.

Please pass my details on to the ASA if they would like more information.

Sue L says:
19 August 2011

Applied for 16 tickets (£550) over a range of sports over 4 days (2 days each week). Got 6, 2 for table tennis in the morning & 4 for hockey in the afternoon on the same day. So my planning worked and have no complaints. Plus I am looking to buy more from resales and go for some paralympics in the big iconic venues.

Why couldn’t they have copied the Wimbledon Championships ballot procedure.
Apply for each sport separately, get 2 seats allocated, Pay by a certain date or they are re allocated.
No choice of dates but the years when I am successful I have taken unpaid leave or made up time
Years when unsuccesful I feel sad but not as aggrieved as I do over my failure when I have an ex friend who has £1,000 of tickets…….. maybe I’ll re-befriend her when we know just what she has !!!!!!

Justin says:
27 August 2011

Due to my condition (Ataxia, Not heard of Ataxia ? Please sign the e-petition http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/12762 ), I am dictating this e-mail 2 months after I wanted to. I have simply been too weak and unable to concentrate to dictate this e-mail.

I am a wheelchair user who failed to apply for an Olympic 2012 ticket in the First instance. Obviously, I was very disappointed but fortunately there would be a Second-chance offer at 6am, 24 June. The Olympics in London really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and to miss it, sports fan or not, would be idiotic, obtuse and downright daft.

Unfortunately, I lost my Internet connection two nights before the offer so spent the next day in the local Library trolling the net trying to find a phone number or some sort of alternative application procedure. As you know, there wasn’t one to find! I couldn’t even combat this spectacular lack of provision by spending the night at another house for the 6am window. I felt impotent as the window opened and closed leaving me with that uncomfortable hollow feeling in my stomach for days and weeks. I feel robbed of probably the biggest opportunity in recent years for me and all because of a complete lack of vision by the application planners.

I find it astonishing that the application process is/was only open to those with Internet access – surely this excluded millions of citizens.

That’s a very good point. Why limit it to the internet? Surely there should be another option to enter the ballot – such as over the phone.

Justin says:
1 September 2011

Thanks for your reply Patrick. Do you know how I can go about making this point to the officials ?

Hello Justin,

Here’s how you can contact the London ticketing team, although you may not get very far.

“If you would prefer to speak to a customer services agent, please call our Ticketing team on 0844 847 2012.

“The lines are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Calls cost £0.05p per minute from a BT landline. Other networks may vary.

“You can also contact the London 2012 Ticketing team at our postal address: London 2012 Ticketing, PO Box 798, Manchester M60 1WU”



Paul Bardos says:
8 September 2011

My wife spent ages on the round 1 web ticket sale and committed us to more than £500 of tickets. This was a lot of money for us, and we really could not commit more. She was interested in several minority sports. Did we get a ticket? Not, not a single one. I think the ticketing system was loaded in favour of poeple with a lot of money to spend and the big corporates.

I applied 5 tickets and got 3! (my maximum spend was £200)
What happens if on the day of the event I am ill and cannot use my tickets?
Can I give them to a friend?
Will they have to prove they haven’t got them from a ticket tout?

Pauline. says:
30 July 2012

I am sooooo disappointed And angry that the only Olympics I have ever tried To go To, And have been looking forward To for years, also living within a mile of events, I was unable To get any tickets for me or my children. Why? I sat on line, And still am, daily searching for tickets. Even the Park entry was full-? How? Families have been allocated loads of tickets, others none. Even now when there are open seats, these are for Park Ticket holders- how unfair. I will be so annoyed for years To come. All we wanted was 3 tickets To one event in the Olympic Park!!