I got official confirmation that of the 14 sessions I applied for (mostly track cycling and swimming – things I really, really wanted to see some of) I was allocated four tickets to a Women’s Basketball session on the first full day of competition.
It appears I made a fatal mistake in my strategy. Whilst concentrating my initial application on the stuff I really wanted, and potentially committing a significant amount of money, I also put in a few filler sessions here and there. For instance, the women’s basketball falls between morning and evening swimming sessions that I’d applied for. The thinking was obvious – we’d be on the Olympic site all day so why not maximise the opportunity to see things.
However, this decision backfired in a big way.
After the initial storm of protest over the handling of the initial ticket ballot, LOCOG announced plans for a second round of sales in late June/July. Crucially, first preference for this round would go to people who got NOTHING from their initial application. Now, whilst there was no swimming or track cycling available in the second round, there were still some fairly choice sessions, including some athletics in the main stadium. The key difference to the second round compared to the first was that it was first-come first-served.
Hence, when tickets went on sale last week the most attractive events went in minutes (not withstanding the rather bizarre problems in people actually knowing if their order was actually successful.)
The key point for me was that if you were at all successful in the first ballot, as I was, then you have to wait until 17th July to take part in the second round. By that time, it is likely all that will be left is football tickets, primarily in places like Hampden Park, Scotland.
So, by choosing some filler material in my initial application I’ve effectively handicapped myself from having a second bite of the cherry. I’m happy for friends who have been tweeting about the athletics tickets they’ve had confirmation of over the weekend, and just to reiterate, I’m happy I’ll be seeing something of the games, especially in the Olympic Park. However, had I known how the full process was going to work before I made any application whatsoever, I’d have done things differently. I’d have gone only for the stuff I really, really wanted in the first round and been happy to fight for whatever was left at the first opportunity if I was unsuccessful in the first round.
Sadly, I doubt I’ll ever get the chance to put that into practice.