Of the many issues with the 30th Olympiad, AKA London 2012, the biggest has been the many, many empty seats. Depressing shots of half-full stadiums have been the norm, and the London organizers have been turning increasingly to an unusual source to fill the empty seats: the military. Soldiers and off-duty security have been encouraged to fill VIP seats for Olympic events in an unusual move to make the venues look full even when they’re not. Many fans who wanted tickets to the event but either couldn’t afford them or were sold out of VIP events have been complaining, but London organizers maintain that it’s not a big deal.
“Let’s not run away with ourselves here. This is a moveable situation, it will resolve itself quite quickly,” said Sebastian Coe, the chairman of the London Olympic Committee, who said that some seats went unfilled due to ticket holders having to appear at multiple events. ”My day yesterday is a good example — I went to about four venues and only stayed for about an hour in each one.”
The Olympic organizers have been actively combating this sort of thing with a variety of measures, from a Wimbledon-style ticket reselling program for double-billed events to replace departing fans who leave after their team’s match is over to actively moving fans down into the VIP seats, reselling seats where people fail to show up, free tickets are being handed out to students in London schools, and the aforementioned seat fillers. Still, for every filled swimming event, there’s been a half-empty soccer match.
Tags: Sebastian Coe, Olympics, security filling seats at Olympics, unused Olympics seats, London Olympics, 2012 Olympics, 30th Olympics, soldiers filling Olympic seats, Olympic seats going unfilled, controversies, athletics, sports, olympic controversies, security used as seat-fillers at the Olympics