Posted by: Paul | February 15, 2011

An Olympic-Sized Recession

Today, the ticket prices and full run-down of the schedule for the London Olympics has been announced, allowing interested parties to start planning which tickets to apply for. I’d like to go and see as much as I can, and make sure Adam remembers when the Olympic circus came to town. I’m hoping it will inspire him to take up a sport when he’s able to. That’s my dream as a parent, really – for him to excel at something he enjoys doing.

But there’s a problem. Though there are a lot of cheaper tickets available for the preliminary stages in pretty much every competing sport, the scandalous sponsorship decision which means that the only cards accepted will be Visa, means that I can’t just apply for a wedge of tickets on my credit card and pay for them gradually. I have to pay for them all upfront, drastically reducing the spending power I have available.

I’m sure I’m not the only person in this situation. I don’t have a Visa credit card. Therefore, if I make a dozen applications I have to make sure I have the money to pay for all the tickets right away, in case all the applications are successful. So far, so financially responsible, you might think – and you’d be right. But what if I only make three applications, and none of them are successful? My son misses out. I’m willing to place his entire future sporting career on this turning point right now.

Also, though I’ve mentioned there are cheap tickets available, for anything with any consequence – finals, medal ceremonies etc – you’re talking about a huge spike in price. I know this is the case for all big events, but when there are so many seats to fill and the London committee committed themselves to having no empty venues (unlike Beijing), these prices are way beyond what your average person can afford. Maybe I’ll be able to stick in an application for back row seats at one such event, but imagine you were travelling down from, say, Manchester or Leeds to be part of this – you’re looking at a huge bill. How can people be expected to afford tickets when things are so tight in so many areas of our lives?

I wish the people organising this, earning hundreds of thousands of pounds per year, would take a reality check and think about the needs of the ordinary sports fans in the country. Putting the tickets most people would want at £400+ is going to put these seats squarely in the hands of the super-rich elite, when I thought the Olympics was supposed to be something we could all be proud of. So far, it’s a bit of a disgrace really.



  1. I agree with everything you say here. I’m disgusted that all the cheap tickets are for the preliminary events and they should have allocated a couple of thousand seats at the much hyped £20.12 price for every event in the schedule. It seems once again that if you have the money you can have the very best games experience, and those like me who have a very moderate income will just have to enjoy it from the cheap seats.

    I also live in Lancashire and hope to visit with my eleven year old son but will have to take into consideration petrol and accommodation costs too… thankfully my son isn’t bothered about watching any of the finals but that’s not really the point is it… and don’t get me started on Visa.

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