London 2012 organisers are braced for more anger after thousands of people who missed out on tickets for the Games in the first ballot were again disappointed, despite their applications being confirmed in last week’s second-chance sale.
The ticketing system slowed to a crawl shortly after 6am on Friday morning when the 1.2 million people who failed to secure a ticket in the first phase were invited to apply for a further 2.3m tickets. But it has emerged that of the 150,000 applications so far processed, about 10% have ended up with nothing at all, despite being told initially they had secured tickets.
There were 24 sports in the second-round sale, 18 of which sold out by Friday evening. Boxing and weightlifting joined the sold-out list on Saturday. Only football, volleyball, Greco-Roman wrestling and freestyle wrestling remained for sale on Sunday.
“Over 130,000 more people will now have tickets to the Games following the first day of the second-chance sale on Friday,” said London 2012 organising committee (Locog) chairman Lord Coe. “We know there is still some disappointment from those who were not successful in their requests, but we will continue do everything we can to get them to the Games.”
Coe added: “Over a million new tickets will be offered to the British public next year from contingency seats, once venues are tested and licensed, and we aim to get as many of these tickets as possible into the hands of customers who have missed out to date.”
Many tens of thousands more will have got some of the tickets they expected, but not all of them. In all, 150,000 applications have so far been processed in the second round for about 850,000 tickets.
With just 40,000 tickets remaining for the athletics, they were all snapped up in the first 15 minutes. Only 600,000 of the 2.3m tickets on sale in the second phase were for sports other than football.
During the first frantic two hours of sale – when many reported the website was telling them to try again later and were unable to submit their application – 10 sports sold out in total.
Because the technology used by Ticketmaster, the official ticketing partner of Locog, was not a truly “live” system it relied on someone manually updating the website when tickets were no longer available. Such was the deluge of applicants for athletics in particular that a sizeable minority went all the way through the system, entered their payment details and received a confirmation email, only to find later that they did not get the tickets they had applied for after all.
“Just under 90% received tickets, subject to payment,” said Locog. “Around 10% have not been successful due to the massive demand during the first two hours of sales where 10 sports sold out, some within 15 minutes.
“Emails are being sent to applicants today and whilst more applicants now have tickets to the Games, we know that there are still some disappointed customers and we will do everything we can to get them to the Games.”
” More than 1m new tickets will be offered to the British public next year from contingency seats, once venues are tested and licensed, and we aim to get as many of these tickets as possible into the hands of customers who have missed out to date.”
Locog said it had always stressed that tickets were not confirmed until applicants received their second email 48 hours later.
However, it was originally thought that people would miss out only in exceptional circumstances and the vast majority of those whose applications were accepted would get the tickets they wanted.
Lord Coe has promised that at least two-thirds of the original 1.9 million applicants will get a ticket. The 700,000 who did get tickets in the first phase will have another chance to apply for what’s left – which is likely to be football and a handful of other sports – from 8 July. The remaining 1.2m tickets will go on sale from December.
Locog, criticised over aspects of the first phase of ticket sales when 3m of the 6.6m tickets on offer were sold, also had to face renewed criticism of the number that went to European applicants.
Under EU law, tickets from Locog’s application had to be made available to European purchasers. Conversely, buyers from the UK can apply for tickets from the allocations of European sellers.
Locog revealed earlier this month that 5%, or about 150,000, of the allocation had been bought by European purchasers but MPs have again criticised the process.
“Over 95% of the tickets sold in the first round went to the British public,” said Locog. “We didn’t market the tickets outside the UK, but EU law means we can’t restrict their sale within the EU based on where people live. Lots of Britons have been trying to buy tickets through agents in Europe, so it works both ways.”
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