diamond geezer

 Thursday, January 21, 2010

London 2012  Olympic update
  918 days to go

(in which I spot some news on the web, and then repeat it here, because that's the way blogging's going these days)

Stop - Hammers Time
Boleyn GroundNow that West Ham United has been taken over by two of its richest fans, Mr Gold and Mr Sullivan, the fate of the Olympic Stadium may be nearer to being settled. At last there's a football club with a genuine interest in moving into the Olympic Park after the Games are over, rather than leaving the arena empty apart from the occasional under-attended athletics afternoon. It's bound to be the preferred Tory solution, when the time comes. As a bonus, the new stadium would actually be within walking distance of West Ham tube station, rather than being tucked away in East Ham as at present. But there are plenty of potential problems. London promised to keep an athletics track at the legacy stadium, but that wouldn't mix well with close-up views of top flight football. G&S have offered to convert West Ham's existing Boleyn Ground into an athletics track, but that's a pretty poor swap to be honest and unlikely to be acceptable. Then there's the major awkwardness that the Olympic Stadium has been designed to be temporary, with all the toilets and important facilities relocated to insubstantial pods outside the perimeter, so it's already too late to construct a fully-fledged futureproof megabowl. Plus, quite frankly, do I want a football crowd marauding through my local mega-shopping centre every other Saturday for the rest of eternity? Forever blowing bubbles, I think not.

One of the perhaps unforeseen implications of Cadbury's recent takeover by American food giants Kraft is a subtle shift in Olympic sponsorship. Cadbury are one of London 2012's second tier sponsors, to be responsible for all the confectionery and packaged ice cream sold at official outlets at Games time. London 2012's head honcho Paul Deighton was terribly excited when the deal was first announced, saying "I’m thrilled that Cadbury - another great and trusted British brand - has come on board." Well, that sounds a bit foolish now, doesn't it? Another Olympic super-marketing opportunity has slipped overseas, and is now in the grasp of faceless Illinois investors globally famed for processed cheese. Can we now expect 2012 kiosks to serve up Philadelphia Cheesecake ice cream, deep-frozen Toblerones and Dairylea-dipped Oreos? Well, probably not, to be honest, but that doesn't stop me being terribly cross about the whole thing. This ain't no Picnic any more, it's a Fudge.

Not yet verified by Visa
Olympic StadiumYou'll be wanting Olympic tickets for 2012, won't you? The chance to sit in a security-frisked grandstand and watch some amateur frontcrawlathon or pingpongfest. But how much will those tickets cost, and when will they be available? No news yet on the first question, but tickets should be on sale by this time next year. And you'll be able to register your interest on the London 2012 website in two months time. But don't get over-excited. No reservations can yet be made, you'll merely be signing up to receive an email in 2011 alerting you that tickets are finally available. Which is surely pointless, because it'll be impossible to avoid the torrent of national publicity that'll be unleashed immediately before Olympic TicketLaunch, so nobody'll fail to notice. Let's hope that tickets for the most interesting events haven't already been hived off to international hospitality cartels by then. Oh, and sponsorship rules apparently mean that the only credit card that'll be accepted for public ticket purchase is Visa, the official Olympic credit card. If that's true, and plastic inequality is the watchword, then I may not even bother applying.

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