please empty your brain below

It is incredible that they have turned what should have been a fun enjoyable ballot/lottery into a publicity nightmare.

The ballot idea was fine - it was administration of it that was diabolical.

For some bizarre reason, they couldn't take all the money on one day; they couldn't send out emails on that same day with all the details of what is being taken out; and they couldn't arrange the secondary allocations as ballots.

Whomever designed their IT system better not put it on their CV, they'll never get a job again.

What really annoyed me was the email yesterday saying "Congratulations, you've won something but we are STILL not going to tell you what"

However, I suspect strongly that my big "win" was Miss Ham's choice....... synchronised swimming.

My big beef with it all is so many people ending up with nothing, whilst others have two or more events. Surely it would have been fairer to place people who had already won an allocation for one event to the back of the ballot for another? At least people might have had a better chance at seeing something?

Blessed is the pessimist, because he shall never be disappointed.

Meanwhile, here in SW London we will have a free view of the practice cycling road race on August 14th. Not only free, but compulsory, since TfL want to establish a Ring of Steel by closing the roads which form the circuit, stopping anyone inside the circuit getting out, for the WHOLE DAY.

I am so pleased I never bothered to apply. As Timbo says - no disappointment, no stress and no anger about the "system".


Welcome to the London Marathon route residents - every year.

I don't want to unnecessarily criticise the process - as I think the ballot idea is the best way to have done this.
In hindsight they could have restricted the numbers of tickets anyone could get slightly more. I think not knowing how few seats were available for some events is their greatest crime. How did you get the figures on this - I haven't seen them elsewhere?

As you say, the second ballot has half a ticket per person.

Compare that with the first ballot:
number of original applicants 1.9 million,
number of tickets actually available in first ballot (other than football) 5.5-1.7 = 3.8 million

You are therefore four times LESS likely to get something in the second than you were in the first.

Well, I'm one of the 1.2 million and I won't be going in for the sloppy seconds round so that's everyone else's chances upped a tiny bit. In the end, the email came as a bit of a relief. I'll be sorry not to experience the velodrome and the whole Olympic atmosphere, but if attending was going to be as tooth-grindingly frustrating as applying in the first place was, I think we've dodged a (rather expensive) bullet. Not that I'm bitter or anything!

Visa Europe said there were 601000 individual payments taken in the UK ballot ( the highest single payment was £15000) so by my calculation 99000 people who paid by cheque were successful. Is that weighted in favour of cheque payers?

"But remember that without sponsors we'd be spending far more of our taxes to pay for the Games"

This true and not true. It's true of any given event, that the money from sponsors can be considered money that somebody else isn't having to divvy up. But it's also true that

(a) the overall effect of sports sponsorship is inflationary, as witness the gigantic increase in prices for tickets that have gone alongside greater sponsorship (over, say, the last thirty years)

(b) when large wedges of tickets go to sponsors, the effect is to drive up the prices of the smaller pool of tickets that remains.

Sponsorship is a very double-edged sword indeed.

We managed to get tickets for one event (yet to find out which it is, but it'll either be swimming or athletics, as those were the only events we applied for) - I didn't think we'd get any allocation at all, so looks like we really were the lucky ones, as these were so oversubscribed. Friends of ours applied for less popular events such as Tae Kwondo - and were completely unsuccessful.

My big beef with it all is so many people ending up with nothing, whilst others have two or more events. Surely it would have been fairer to place people who had already won an allocation for one event to the back of the ballot for another? At least people might have had a better chance at seeing something?
Absolutely agree, Jams.

And then there's the prediction (which will doubtless come true) that all accommodation providers in the Capital are going to massively increase their prices over the Olympics weeks. Any accommodation that hasn't already been bought up by tour operators, that is.


I am now embarrassed to admit that I was successful on two counts (out of 14 + ceremonies) - in what negative terms will my fellow ticket holders now be called.

So, I have been waiting for this post to thank you for suggesting the Modern Pentathlon, as from the monies deducted, I have worked out that this is one of our events, the other being an Athletics daytime session.

I also applied for an early Hockey session to ensure that we ended up in the Olympic Park, but didn't seem to get these?! Now though, I discover that you can buy park access tickets - but why would anyone want to buy them just to walk around the outside of stadia, unless they are planning to install big screen TVs along the lines of Murray Mound in Wimbledon.

Oh, and I couldn't agree with you more about the 1.7 million football tickets being included in the stats. They totally mislead.

"Be at your keyboard at 6am next Friday"

Not genre savvy enough, DG. You know as well as I do that it'll be postponed for at least a week due to "technical reasons". After that it'll turn out the rules of the second round aren't at all what LOCOG have been telling us for months after all.

I have no problem with a ballot as the method of choice. I have deep problems with how they went about it.

It may well have been fairer to make allowances for locals, or sporting club members, but this is the Olympics - which is supposed to be for everyone. Young or old, etc etc
Indeed complicating the ballot with certain people preferred, or people putting ticket preferences would have meant an already imperfect system would have had more opportunities for LOCOG to get it wrong.

As it is, the ballot made sure everyone was treated equally (viz Boris and numerous celebrities getting zip).

What I do agree is most unfair is not publishing what number of tickets were available at each price band. For example it only became know much later that in one of the Sydney Olypmic Diving sessions there were 14 (fourteen) tickets available in the cheapest price band! ( )

I doubt LOCOG would have been quite that idiotic; However cheap tickets numbering in low hundreds would not be too surprising (the more expensive tickets they sell, the less they need to take from taxpayers).

I would be unsurprised if the vast majority of people were careful and only applied for what they could afford (as recommended by Coe et al) restricting themselves to the cheapest band. Odds of 375 to 1 for 20.12 Opening Ceremony tickets or 62 to 1 for any 100m Final ticket are the only two statistics I've seen for the tickets. If most of the other cheap tickets were similarly restricted in number (and I suspect so, given the hesitancy of LOCOG to publish the numbers that were available in each band) then the vast majority of people who applied for "reasonably priced" tickets will have run into odds of 5-1, 10-1 or higher.
And likely as not, ended up with nothing.

Running a ballot without giving any information of how many tickets you're bidding for is bordering on dishonest, encouraging interest when you know they hold little hope of winning.

To compound it by taking money before releasing details of what you've won (if anything) is just inept design of the ticketing system.

Its so inept I tried to think of reasons why it was designed that way. Anyone got a better reason? The only daft reason I could come up with is that they're trying to avoid people deliberately stopping cheques/payments if they realise they've only won 1 session out of, say, 4 (and hence not worth a trip to London).

And now, telling those lucky people who got something "Congratulations, you've got tickets" when they've been already debited, *without saying what they've got* just compounds the incompetence.

Seb Coe's succeeded in his first aim (Drive up interest and thus sell lots of tickets) but as a result of not releasing information (before and after) they've turned a lot of people against the games.

We won't get it, but the least applicants like us should get would be an email listing how many people applied for how many tickets at the price point I applied for. How many were available, and whether I got them or not.

You can't fob off 1.2 million people with a "Second Chance" equating to half a ticket each and expect to avoid further PR disasters.

I am increasingly realising just how ridiculously lucky I was. I only got one ticket, but as I only applied for 3 I am pretty damn happy with my 33% success rate.

And the person I have to thank for it is good old DG. I read his tips, I thought about it, I bid strategically, and I've got a ticket to the tennis or the hockey - either of which I will be very excited to see.

So thank you again, DG. You're the reason I'm going to the Olympics *hat tip*

A quick follow-up to ask a question. My email confirming that I got "some or all" of my requested tickets also includes the following:

"However, there will be further opportunities to purchase tickets between now and the Games.

This starts with an opportunity for you to request some of the remaining tickets from 6am on 8 July to 6pm on 17 July 2011."

Am I misinterpreting this, or am I also included in the group of people who get first crack at the second round of tickets even though I got something in the first round?

There are 2 rounds of "second chance sales":

24 June – 3 July 2011: for applicants who were not allocated any tickets during the initial application phase
8 July - 17 July 2011: for applicants who were allocated some or all of the tickets they applied for during the initial application phase

There may not be many tickets left after the first fortnight (except volleyball/football, I bet).

Tim, I couldn't agree more. The actual ballot is a pretty good idea, but LOCOG really haven't helped themselves at all.

By not providing any of the relevant information that would have helped those of us in the ballot to understand what realistic chance we stood, they have only helped fuel rumour, innuendo and suspicion.

The system was good, the PR element around it was very, very bad.

As Tim mentions, an indication of the number of tickets available in any particular catergory would have been exceptionally helpful. I'm not even asking for precise figures here, just something along the lines of maybe "less than 50", "around 100", "between 250 and 500", "more than 1000", something like that. Then we would have been able to judge our chances and punt accordingly.

I believe one of the early criticisms of this whole thing was that if you have more money, and could therefore afford to gamble on higher priced tickets, that you would stand more chance of being succesful. The reporting I am seeing, and the pdf indicating the price bands with tickets still available, would seem to back that up. That and the low level grumbling about the % of tickets available to sponsors is making this seem less and less like the great opportunity for everyone to view top class international sports that we were led to believe it would be during the bidding process (and at that time I lived in London).

I've also had that e-mail to tell me that I've won "some or all" (yes, I know, I can read a bank statement, you took the money three bl00dy weeks ago), and it does seem to suggest that I'll be able to have another go on Friday. No mention of having to wait two weeks. Are they about to make another monumental hash up of the second chance?

I was one of the lucky ones who got tickets in the 2nd ballot, 12 tickets for hockey!

I agree the system is unfair, but I am looking forward to the games.

I was one of the really lucky ones - four tickets: athletics, band E.
I agree that informing us all as to how many tickets of each type were available at the start would at least have let everyone know how (un)likely they were to actually get the tickets they wanted, but it would also have put off a lot of people from applying.

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