Sunday, June 26, 2011

Rambles on shambles

Like many folks in the UK, I spent the month of June keeping a close eye on my credit card statement, my Visa credit card statement, to be exact. What's the big deal about Visa, you wonder? Normally, nothing, in that I'm credit card agnostic, but Visa is the only card that was accepted in the, what is now becoming known as a complete farce of a ticketing process, ballot to secure 2012 Olympics tickets.
Back in April, both Matt and I went through the possible options of events available and basically laid our cards on the table (that's right, our Visa cards) in terms of saying what tickets we wanted - or were at least willing to pay for. With rumors that the demand for tickets was going to greatly outweigh supply, everyone was encouraged to try for events which were less popular than others in the hopes of getting something when this all went to a random ballot for selection. There were stories of people applying for £30,000 worth of tickets, in the hopes of getting something. There was no guarante that they would get anything, but they certainly stood a hell of a better chance than we did; I think between us Matt and I applied for about £500 worth of tickets. The catch was that you had to be able to pay for them, now, and even before you were told what they were for. To see £200 come out of your bank account and not know what you had purchased until a month later does seem crazy, now that I think about it. Anyway, this was the system that was used.
A few weeks ago I saw a charge appear on my card statement for £52.00. Running through my list of what I had applied for, I worked out I'd received tickets to either BMX cycling or beach volleyball, both of which I was actually excited about. It wasn't diving or athletics, but 1 million people applied for 100m final tickets (I didn't), but it was clear that diving and athletics were where there would be massive oversubscription. The £52 represented 2 £20 tickets for me and Matt, and 2 "pay-your-age" tickets for Blake and Noah at £4 and £2, and a £6 booking fee. Out of his application, Matt got nothing. All in all, I was pleased, given that I then went on to hear that about half of the 1.8 million people who applied didn't get anything.

Second-chance tickets went on sale on Friday, but Matt didn't bother trying for anything, and I wasn't eligible because I had actually received tickets the first time around. The process has certainly turned a large percentage of the British public off the Games entirely, which I understand. We live here, we pay taxes which will no doubt help fund the entire event, and yet many people - genuine lovers of sport, and children who will no doubt be deeply disappointed - will miss out completely on seeing events live. I had read a lot about the process before making my application, and there were lots of people who were making comments about the fact that they'll have the best seats in the house when they're watching at home on tv. I think it will be neat to see something in person, but there should be other ways of feeling involved, like going and touring the Olympic Stadium at another time, and simply being in London. It's difficult to know how I'd feel if I hadn't received anything...probaby disappointed, but hopefully not bitter. On one BBC blog, a lady made a comment that she hopes it rains the whole time. That made me laugh. Namely because it probably will anyway...I just hope it isn't raining when we're supposed to be at the beach volleyball.

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