Saturday, 28 July 2012

If privileged bums can't fill Games seats give them to real Olympics fans

I have to put on record my admiration for Danny Boyle's Olympics opening ceremony extravaganza last night.
But it was disappointing to turn on the television today to see so many empty 'posh' seats at the swimming, tennis, and gymnastics arenas.
These are popular sports with armies of fans, who have been disappointed by being denied affordable seats at the London Games.
Lord Coe & Co have got to do some pretty swift arm-twisting of the corporates, who bought blocks of the best seats, to make sure there are privileged bums on them.
Olympic seat prices favoured the wealthy and it's an insult to competitors and sports fans if seats are empty.
I appreciate the organisers can't work miracles. They are obliged to reserve seats for the Olympic family - other sportsmen and women, officials, and the media - with no guarantee they'll show up.
But sponsors and other corporate customers must be encouraged to fill their allocations.
It may be too late to bus in fans - as the Chinese did faced with the same problem four years ago - but at the very least the upper tiers should be allowed to move closer to the action.
I can't believe there will be substantial no-shows for the athletics - it will be an international embarrassment if there are.

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