diamond geezer

 Wednesday, February 16, 2011

London 2012  Olympic update
  10 ticketing tips

1) Get an overview of what's on when
The official schedule is really complicated. There are 650-ish sessions in 40-something sports across two-and-a-bit weeks, which makes it really hard to start planning from scratch. London 2012 have produced a mega-pdf, subdivided into mini-pdfs, for the final detail. The Telegraph have a rather nice interactive schedule. But you need to start at a higher level. Try this very-approximate timeline for size.

  weekend 1 
27-29 Jul
week 1
30 Jul-3 Aug
 weekend 2 
4-5 Aug
week 2
6-10 Aug
 weekend 3 
11-12 Aug
Opening ceremony     
Archery, Canoe slalom, Road cycling, Judo     
Badminton, Fencing, Rowing, Swimming, Tennis     
Beach volleyball, Equestrian, Table Tennis, Weightlifting     
Basketball, Boxing, Diving, Football, Gymnastics, Handball, Hockey, Sailing, Volleyball, Water Polo     
Track cycling     
Synchronised swimming, Triathlon     
Athletics, Wrestling     
Marathon, Race walk     
Canoe sprint, Taekwondo     
Mountain bike, Pentathlon, Closing ceremony     

2) Only apply for tickets you know you can afford
We covered this one last week, remember. The application process is a raffle, so you might be tempted to apply for more tickets than you need. But you'll be forced to pay for every ticket you win, so check your potential overdraft before you apply. Payment will be taken somewhere between Tuesday 10 May and Friday 10 June, so we're told. If you're feeling financially screwed at the moment, the BBC website has a helpful table showing where all the £20 tickets are.

3) Get a sense of proportion
There are only 6.6 million tickets up for grabs. That might sound like a lot, but it's not even enough for everyone in London to get one each. Some of these Olympic events are going to be ridiculously over-subscribed. Even if you have hundreds of pounds to splash around, you won't be attending every event you want to see. Don't get your hopes up. In particular don't try to plan yourself a perfect weekend of six consecutive medal-winning sessions, because you'll only end up with two days full of holes.

4) Decide whether you want to see a particular event, or any event
If your only goal is to say "yes, I went to the Olympics", then avoid the massively over-subscribed sessions. Check out the "ticket limit" column on the schedule. If the limit's 4, you're probably not going to get in. If the limit's 20, it's much more likely you'll be lucky. The event you get to attend may not be thrilling, but at least you'll be able to say "I was there".

5) Play the lucky dip
There'll only be a few £20.12 tickets up for grabs for the Opening Ceremony. You barely have any chance at all of getting one. But where's the harm in applying? It won't break the bank, and if you're not successful it won't cost you a thing. Think of it as playing the lottery, with no stake up front. Somebody's got to win, and it could be you. [Session code: ZO001]

6) Know your capacities
The one fact Olympic organisers have failed to mention on their ticket schedule is how many tickets they'll be selling at each session. Several will be saved for sponsors and their hangers-on, the so-called Olympic family. But you can get a pretty good idea of how many tickets are available if you know the capacity of each venue. Some of these are a lot smaller than you might expect, and your chances of getting a ticket will be similarly restricted.

Olympic Stadium 80000 White Water Centre (slalom) 12000
Eton Dorney (rowing) 30000 Woolwich Barracks (shooting) 7500
Greenwich Park 23000 Handball Arena 7000
Hadleigh Farm (mountain biking) 20000 Lord's (archery) 6500
Aquatics Centre 17500 Wembley Arena (gymnastics) 6000
Hockey Centre 16000 BMX circuit 6000 
Horseguards (beach volleyball) 15000 Velodrome 6000
Basketball Arena 12000 Water Polo Arena 5000
Earls Court (volleyball) 15000  The Mall (marathon finish) 1600

7) If you want to go as a group, apply as a group
One useful rule in the ballot is that you'll win either all or none of your tickets in each session. So if six of you want to go and see the rowing, apply as a group of six. That way you'll get either six tickets or nothing. Whatever you do, don't let Dave and his wife apply for their tickets and Julie apply for hers and you get the rest, otherwise you're almost certain to be split up.

8) You don't have to have a Visa card to buy tickets
If you don't have a Visa card, you won't be able to buy tickets online. But you will be able to use the ticket application form in the Official Ticketing Guide instead. This document can be picked up from March 15th onwards in any English branch of Lloyds TSB (or Bank of Scotland in Scotland) (or local library in Northern Ireland). The organisers are happy to take a cheque in an envelope, or even a postal order, to pay for your winning tickets. No plastic monopoly need spoil your enjoyment of the Games.

9) Don't forget there are venues outside London
If you don't live in London, do you really want to battle your way into town, pay through the nose for a Travelodge in Aldgate, then queue to squash yourself into a crammed tube train? Your Olympic Ticket includes a free zone 1-9 travelcard, so it's not all bad news. But why not head outside the capital instead? There are 50 football matches to watch, plus the joys of rowing in Windsor, canoeing in Herts, sailing in Weymouth and mountain biking in Essex. I scouted the four major venues outside London last summer, and my reports might help convince you to follow.

10) All competition schedules are subject to change at any time
Now there's a disclaimer. You may think you've booked tickets for the cross-country riding on July 30th, but London 2012 reserve the right to shift any event in case of bad weather, terrorist alert or whatever. It might be safest to stay at home and watch the whole thing on TV instead. The entire fortnight's optimised for the small screen anyway, plus you can nip out for a drink whenever you like and not be forcefed a Coca Cola. But hey, even if it's only for a preliminary round in the volleyball, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Worth a dip in the Olympic bran tub, don't you think?

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream