/ Money, Travel & Leisure

Olympic tickets – too high a price for public to pay

The 2012 Olympics schedule provides a tantalising peek into the raft of events set to grace our country. Yet with tickets for some premium events priced at a wallet-busting £725, can the average family really afford to go?

There are a fair few pessimists out there when it comes to the potential success of London 2012, but I’m not one of them.

I can’t wait and Tuesday March 15th, the opening day applications for tickets can be made, is firmly in my calendar – in bold and underlined, twice!

Will we even get any tickets?

I’ve already studied the games schedule, highlighting my favourite events. After doing some quick sums (based on the cheapest seats for gold medal events, £50 for the athletics, swimming, cycling and diving finals) I’m already at £200 – and that’s just for one person.

Apply for top-price tickets and the total for these could reach just shy of £2k. But that’s only if I get all my requested tickets – with 13,000 VIP tickets reportedly reserved for politicians, getting to the games at all could be a miracle.

Tickets for £20

It’s only fair to say that tickets do start at £20 and that special-priced tickets will be available at more than 200 sessions. ‘Pay your age’ seats will be offered to young people who are aged 16 or younger and Seniors aged 60 and over will pay £16 at selected sessions.

But put your name down for later rounds or medal-winning sessions, and not only do most of the special prices disappear, the price of tickets increase significantly.

Fair enough, younger children may not understand the occasion fully, but what about the rest of us, or those with slightly older children? Is there anything wrong with wanting to see the glory games, the big finals, and hopefully some Brits winning golds?

Should some of us be restricted to watching the opening rounds – or even the telly – simply because of cost?

Hockey for the price of a holiday?

And it’s bothering me that those who support the grass roots of a sport will be priced out of medal-winning matches, while those (arguably) less enamoured with the sport will watch from prime viewing seats.

Take hockey. The cost of a family going to watch the hockey final is £180 for a family of four for the cheapest tickets and £380 for the second-highest priced seats.

Yes it’s the Olympics, yes it’s the final. But the total cost bares no relevance to watching high-class hockey in this country, which is often free. Even if you love the game of Hockey, £380 could take your family away for a break.

Will I still apply for my tickets? Yes. Do I really, really hope I get them? Yes. Do I think the pricing and ticket allocation is fair? I’m not so sure.

Fat Sam, Glos says:
24 February 2011

It’s not surprising – for most of us having the Olympics in our own country could be a once-in-a-lifetime event. Expect to see people pay more for tickets on the black and grey market.

I’m a massive cycling nut and it’s partly annoying that our cyclists have become so successful which now means every Thomas, Richard and Harvey wants a piece, meaning ticket prices will shoot through the velodrome roof. It’s also slightly annoying that the traditional Brit dominated event, the 4000m individual pursuit, is now part of the omnium so I’m now split on which event I’d like to try and see. However, the road race will be free but be prepared to camp out on Box Hill if you want to get anywhere near the action!

It’s a shame that tickets can’t be prioritised to long-established club members of sports that normally don’t receive anything like the level of support they will get at the Games. All those early Sunday morning starts in the depths of winter – there should be some reward! Once again, genuine fans will lose out.

And I haven’t even started on the corporate band-wagon-jumping leeches!


I support springboard and platform diving all through the year and would like to see some tickets reserved for regular supporters. This happens in other sports where tickets for major events are available to those attending less popular events. It’s unlikely I will get any tickets through the lottery system.

I intend to apply but have several problems:

1. If I apply for all the diving events I might get one or two tickets, but I also might get more tickets than I can afford.
2. If I apply for several tickets from different price bands for the same event, what happens if I get more than one ticket?
3. The price bandings do not state where you will be sitting for an event. The Men’s 10M Final tickets range from £450 to £50. How do I know if a £185 or a £95 ticket is right for me? I don’t know if I’ll be close to the diving boards or be sitting half-way down the swimming pool peering at the boards through binoculars? I can’t help thinking that the organisers will adjust the seating plan according to the demand for top price tickets.

W.S.Becket says:
26 February 2011

I wish to God they would stage the Olympic games in Athens – and leave them there. Any one who is interested can make a pilgrimage to Greece every four years and leave the rest of us to our sedentary peace.


I’m tempted to find out what happens if I click the Agree button more than once!

Margaret Anderson says:
2 March 2011

I have put my name down for tickets to certain events along with 2 of my daughters, so we are hoping to go to at least a couple of events. I was surprised to see how expensive the tickets are especially to the Opening/closing ceremony. My husband thinks I’m crazy. I am 71 but would still like the chance of a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience of going, but I will have to forfeit next years holiday at the expense of going to the Olympics

Collette says:
25 April 2011

Hope that you get allocated tickets and enjoy the once in a lifetime experience

Cannot believe that the ticketing process is such a complicated a ridiculous system where you might get all the events you put down (and a huge bill) or none


So, a “cheap” ticket is £20, £80 for a family of four. Then there are the overheads of getting to the event by our wonderfully cheap public transport.

This is an event for Londoners, and for the rest of the country’s wealthy. Would I like to go – yes. Do I have a reasonably paid job – yes. Can I afford to attend – definitely not.

fat sam says:
5 March 2011

I don’t think £20 is that much! And yes, in an ideal world we’d all like to have every event we ever attend on our doorstep. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to travel or stay overnight and, oh my word, that means I may even have to pay for the privilege.

Welcome to the wonderful world of life.


I’ve just received an email explaining how to apply for tickets and I’m shocked that you seem to HAVE to use a Visa card to pay for them. Ok, many people already have Visa cards of some kind, but for those who don’t it’s a complete hassle to have to apply for a new card just to buy tickets. Hardly inclusive.