Cohen - Ticket system failed

Ticket selling boss slams Olympic system for failing fans

By

Last Updated: 08/06/11 12:22pm

With disgruntled fans around the country bemoaning the lack of Olympic tickets, Seatwave CEO John Cohen told Sky Sports News that the balloting system used by London 2012 organisers had failed.

With reports that over half of those that applied for Olympic tickets had failed, London 2012 organisers have insisted that there was no fairer way to distribute the tickets available to the public.

Fans had to apply for the tickets they wanted, then wait to see how much money was taken out of their bank accounts before finding out which tickets they had been able to secure.

Cohen, who runs the Seatwave ticketing operation, says that the system let down fans badly, and insists there should have been more open access for ticket selection.

"I think there has been a failure in the system," Cohen told Sky Sports News. "While there are other countries that do have tickets available there are very few of them and they're for less popular events.

Chaos

"Whenever you have one seller, which is effectively the Olympic committee, you usually have a chaotic system because there's only one place to buy them from.

"If you have multiple sellers then fans get better choice and better prices and access for tickets.

"When fans are buying tickets there are three things they care about. They want to know what event they're going to, where they're going to sit in the venue and how much they have to pay for those tickets.

"In this case in the ballot system, we didn't know any of this when we started out so it was a failure on all three points.

"What we'd recommend if we have the opportunity again, who knows if the Olympics come back or other big sporting events come back, is let people choose what they want to go to, where they want to sit and what price bands they want to go for."

"The maths tell us that not everyone can get a ticket but what we're saying is don't be unfair to everyone just to make up for the fact that everyone can't get a ticket."

John Cohen

Quotes of the week

Numbers

Cohen accepts that the shear weight of interest had dwarfed the amount of tickets meaning that only a few would get the ones they wanted, but still thought the system used was flawed.

"The maths tell us that not everyone can get a ticket but what we're saying is don't be unfair to everyone just to make up for the fact that everyone can't get a ticket."

LOCOG have also outlawed the re-sale of tickets to try and avoid ticket touts crashing the event, but Cohen says they have made it even more dangerous for real fans by doing so.

"As sure as gravity works, there will be a massive black market for these tickets, and when you ask the question why, it's because people want access to the tickets they want when they want them.

"So when LOCOG say there'll be no resale of tickets they can say that until they are blue in the face but we know people will buy tickets on the black market and unfortunately because it's been outlawed in this case consumers are going to have no protection and no comeback."