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London Planning – Olympic Tickets

Thinking of going to London for the 2012 games? Well, start planning now. My husband and I have gone to the past 4 Olympic Games. We never planned very far ahead, usually about three months before the start of the games but this time after our Beijing experience we do plan to get more organized and prepare for London.

For each of the games we have bought some tickets in advance through online agencies and some at the door of the venue. This time in Beijing however we found it difficult to find tickets being sold at the venues or in black, yes we do buy tickets in black. We like to see India play and predicting when this will happen is difficult so buying tickets at the venue is the easiest way. They were a few “entrepreneurs” but substantially less than Sydney, Athens and Atlanta.

We regret we did not see Bindra win his gold but there is always next time. A memorable match was India vs. Australia in Field Hockey in Sydney. So many fellow Indians came out to cheer against a full Aussie crowd…we did the wave while shouting “Ganpathi Bappa Moriya”. Tickets were difficult to get this time in Beijing with media reports claiming to beware of counterfeits as well as online credit card scams. US companies selling tickets had limited choice and were overpriced. Many companies said they would deliver to the Chinese hotel the day before the event. That sounded a bit suspicious so that route was also closed. We actually later met one American couple who bought $3000 worth of tickets on the net only to find out that the website was a fraud. Luckily due to payment with a VISA credit card they did not lose their money.

One is supposed to get tickets from their country of origin. In June I contacted the Indian Olympics committee in Delhi and they said they were all sold out. I knew I was a bit late in contacting them but was surprised that the country had so much demand for the games. But later found out from an Indian Olympic Committee spokesperson that India has only 30 tickets per event. This number is dependent on the number of athletes, judges, and referees participating, and since our number of participants is less, very few tickets are allotted to us and even fewer tickets are available for the public. Whatever little is available generally goes to “official” administrators and bureaucrats. This year India had one athlete participating in weightlifting and four weightlifting officials. This is only one example. These tickets should at least be going to upcoming athletes so they psychologically prepared for the next games.

The following is an idea of the cost of certain events. These prices are from websites and black market sales. Each website varies and the price also depends on the scheduled event. For example in Track and Field, the men’s 100 metre event will always be more expensive than the women’s javelin.

EVENT / REGULAR COMPETITION / FINALS Opening Ceremonies/ $1500 Swimming / $450 / $1200 Water Polo / $60 / $120 Tennis / $175 / $300 Weightlifting / $80 / $100 Diving / $250 / $400 Track and Field / $70 / $250

The actual prices on the tickets are much less as compared to the market price. RMB 200($60) is written on the tennis ticket. But this is usually the case as the tickets are sold for less in the host country. Organized black marketing companies then acquire the tickets in bulk and the prices shoot up because of the supply and demand equation.

Procuring event tickets in London should not be a problem. There will be plenty of black marketers at the venues and India should hopefully be allotted more tickets.

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