The Olympic organising committee LOCOG has said it is to investigate incidents surrounding empty seats at venues in the Olympic Park, including the Aquatics Centre.
According to a report from the BBC, there were seats higher up that were full, but when you arrived at seats lower down, they were empty. The seats in question were, according to a report from The Guardian, reserved for representatives of sport federations, officials with the International Olympic Committee, and for media representatives covering the Olympics. The BBC report adds that in addition to the Aquatics Centre, Wimbledon, Earl’s Court and the O2 also had empty seats.
A spokesperson for LOCOG told Kettle that the organisation was doing end of day reviews. “Many of our venues were packed to the rafters today,” the spokesperson said. “Where there are empty seats, we will look at who should have been sitting in the seats, and why they did not attend. Early indications are that the empty seats are in accredited seating areas, but this is day one, and our end of day review will provide a fuller picture of attendance levels across all our venues.”
There were also reports that additional tickets had been offered on the London 2012 web site for other events. A call to LOCOG requesting comment on the matter was not immediately returned. LOCOG however said according to the BBC that within the Olympic Park there is a booth where tickets are once again made available if seats are empty.
Spectators were concerned. Rachel Clarke told the BBC that the empty seats may have been corporate. “Since they were in prime position, near where the players came out and the royal box, I can only assume that they were corporate seats,” Clarke said. “They were in a good spot for a fantastic game but they remained empty.”
Stephen Morris, who attended the day’s gymnastics events, added according to the BBC that despite the empty seats, there was a good atmosphere. “There was a good atmosphere but it could/would have been so much better if the main part of the arena had been as full as the others,” Morris said.
The chief executive of LOCOG Paul Deighton said last year that he was committed to ensure there would not be empty seats. “It is about full venues and, within those full venues, having people that look like they want to be there, and accessibility and, somewhere in that, that is where we will come out. I am absolutely committed,” Deighton told a Parliamentary committee last year according to The Guardian.
However, spectator Mike Osey told The Guardian that people shouldn’t make a big deal out of this issue. “This is superb, it’s wonderful, it’s working. Of course it would be better if they were resold but in the scheme of things it’s a minor thing,” Osey said.