/ 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.

Cheryl Lopez says:
3 February 2012

what was the email to apply for tickets aand yes i totally agree

So the tickets went on sale today and you have to submit your application by 26 April. Have you signed up for some Olympic tickets or do you think they’re too expensive to be worth it? http://www.tickets.london2012.com/

Cheryl Lopez says:
3 February 2012

it is worth it if youre there x)

The Olympics.

There’s a new event in town.
It’s called “Getting to the Olympics.”
The aim of the game is to: –

a. Stage One.
Get tickets – at a vaguely affordable price (automatically disqualified if you earn less than £20,000 per year / have children / can’t do a round trip back home same day (delete as appropriate))
Score 10 points.

b. Stage Two.
Get tickets for the day you want!
Score 50 points.

c. Stage Three.
Find tickets allow you to actually see the event without the use of binoculars.
Score 100 points.

d. Stage Four.
This is the biggie and gets you through to the semi-finals.
Get tickets on the same day as your club / sports association are also attending (because you can’t book together)
Score 150 points

e. Stage Five.
Having had to enter the lottery situation, not find yourself saddled with numerous tickets that you don’t want / need.

First Prize – Simply enjoying the Olympics that are being held in your own country, with Pride & Ease, without having to take out a 2nd mortgage. Congratulations!

Second Prize – ha!

As you may be able to tell, I am NOT enamoured with the way the Olympics is being dealt with. At all.

I think think our hosting of the Olympics is wonderful, I fully support it in principle – and believe it is very prestigious for our country.

Will I be attending? No. The reason being that prices for seats and travel are too high, and getting there and back too much of a problem if you live a long way outside of London – particularly if priority travel/access to sporting venues will be given to everyone apart from the spectator.

I think I will happily forego the experience of being there in favour of sitting in front of my TV enjoying excellent professional commentary and camera work in the comfort of my own lounge.

I accept that this view could be construed as being entirely grumpy and unsupportive.

“I accept that this view could be construed as being entirely grumpy and unsupportive”

made me chuckle aloud. 😀

Like Hannah Joliffe below, I am very concerned about the Visa exclusivity deal with LOCOG and its implications. I have written to my MP and also to the Office of Fair Trading (who have looked at the arrangement but whose views and comments look as if they were spoon fed to them by the Visa PR and legal departments). Is this an abuse of a dominant market position? What right does Visa have to require LOCOG to insist that members of the public go out and procure a particular scheme card when any small retailer will gladly accept both Visa or Mastercard? While I hold both Visa and Mastercard, I will not be dictated to in this manner and will not buy tickets on such a basis.

Steve says:
1 April 2011

I was planning to go to the Olympics as I regularly watch a range of sports and thought this would be a fantastic thing to be involved with.

I cant believe the ridiculous system of the ticket lottery, the fact you have to use visa and the totally obscene prices.

I feel like you basically throw a ridiculous load of money at the organisers and “trust” them to give you value for money, not knowing what events you might end up with and if the seat you paid for is any good.

I have totally lost faith in this event and frankly wish that the french had won the bid after all. It’s just another chapter in rip off Britain, If you have some corporate power you get all the fun and everyone else gets shafted. I bet the place will be full of fat bankers buying tickets with thier huge bonus or corporate days out. Frankly it makes me sick.

Margaret anderson says:
15 March 2011

I have my name to apply for tickets along with 2 of my daughters as we are only allowed 4 tickets we have to apply separately, because some of my grandchildrent want to go, I am now thinking shall I stop at home/ because it is unlikely we will get our tickets together.

So at the moemtn debating what to do. We we love to go and support our athletes and have looked carefully at which events to attend on consecutive (2 days) that is all we could afford because of getting to London and back.

Also I only have a VISA Debit and I am not sure whther this is acceptable or just Visa Credit Card??

I did reach the payment page and VISA debit cards are accepted.

Just worked out that if I apply for the 8 events I would like to attend ( a mixture of prelims, semis and finals), and choose the full price range for each to give me the best chance of tickets, I could have a bill of £2075.00 for tickets alone. Way beyond my budget.

What do I do? Make an application knowing I’m very unlikely to get all my choices, or reduce the range of prices and thereby reduce my chance of getting tickets?

That’s exactly what Martyn Saville has written about in his latest Conversation – it’s a very tricky subject. Please feel free to repeat your thoughts there: https://conversation.which.co.uk/money/budget-for-your-olympics-tickets/

Jane Boon says:
15 March 2011

I’m disgusted that we are being held to ransom by Visa. Only accepting Visa cards is an abuse of a monopoly position, and should be legally challenged. I have a Visa debit card but I’m appalled that the money will be taken out of my account in May, long before I know what tickets I’m getting. I have a MasterCard and I don’t see why I should have to try and get a new card just to make my purchases secure. With a debit card I can’t spread the payment. If we’d been told that we could only pay by Visa some time ago, maybe it’s possible that I could have applied and got a Visa card. With 6 weeks to try and get tickets it’s extremely unlikely that anyone could get a card in that time.
Secondly, I want tickets to see judo. It’s not possible for our judo club to go together as we can only book a few tickets at a time. The days are divided into heats and medals and you have to apply for each seperately with no guarantee that you can see any player through to the end if the day. The clubs are the grass roots of this sport and we’re being priced out.

Margaret Anderson says:
17 April 2011

Myself (age 71 yrs) and 2 daughters and 2 Grandchildrenn are hoping to get tickets we have scheduled 2 days one evening performance athletics and morning session swimming heats and one evening session finals. for thes 3 sessions and to get a decent seat (we hope) will cost £365 per person and that is not taking into account travelling expenses and 2 nights stay in a hotel.

The price for a session for the swimming heats is £9O and for the eveing session of under 2 hours it is £185 (that is middle of the road price wise). If you live in London, you don’t have to rely on a hotel, and the government reckon it is fair for all, I somehow don’t see that. Nothing exists north of Watford.

Margaret Anderson says:
5 February 2012

Myself and 2 daughters applied for tickets, got none, wouldn’t even go now if they gave me a ticket. Believe the whole selling of tickets was not fair.

Would like to see who’s in the front rows!!