How Not to Sell Tickets for a Sporting Occasion!

I heard a report on the radio this morning (16th August) that, broadly speaking, the ticketing process for the Olympics and Paralympics had been successful. By whose measure, I wondered. There was a brilliant article in The Times on Saturday 11 August by Janice Turner, the subtitle of which was “No Internet? You’re Out. No Patience? Phone a Rich Friend. Only diligent planners mastered the ticket System”.

The heading and the content of the article mirrored my own experiences.

Put aside the odd balloting system that permitted some who had applied for one pair of tickets to obtain them whilst others (I know personally) who had committed thousands of pounds obtained none.

Put aside the public uproar when it became clear that at many of the events, many of the better seats were unoccupied and were hastily filled by ‘Games Makers’ and the military – all of whom deserved to see events, of course.

But over the past two weeks I tried on many occasions (usually between 10pm and midnight) to obtain tickets. I lost track of the number of times the following happened:-

  1. A session came up as being available, I clicked, only to find that a message came up saying that no tickets were available for it.
  2. A message flashed up that if I were unable to obtain tickets this could be because night-time maintenance was being carried out (this message also occurred during the day) or because applications could only be made after a date in June! Had no one thought to change the date or the messages?
  3. I got through!! Oh joy! Selected my tickets, went through to the processing page – a message popped up telling me I would have to wait at least 15 minutes. On four separate occasions I finally did get through and the message appeared; “Sorry, no tickets available”.

There were reports that over 2 million people were applying each day when an estimated 10,000 additional tickets became available. Seven years in the planning, did someone at Ticketmaster not realise there may be more than one or two applications?!

And did no one have the common sense to change the automated messages?

Other than that the Olympics were brilliant!

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