Americans struggle to get Olympics tix
With thousands of Olympics tickets going back for sale in an effort to fill empty seats, you would think scoring just one while in London would be fairly easy.
The only happy Americans in London are those who bought tickets before arriving.Mark Talkington/MSN
If you’re an American, you’re mostly out of luck. And that’s not sitting well with fans of Team USA hoping to catch any action at the games. The reason is almost as difficult to explain as the process. But we’ll try:
Anyone with a US address can’t go through the official Olympics ticketing process. That’s reserved for UK and European Union dwellers. Instead, Americans are being routed through CoSport, the official reseller of LOCOG (the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games). Once there, after filling out the online forms, you can start selecting from available events, purchase tickets and get the address of where will-call is in London.
But a quick check Wednesday of the available tickets for any event between now and the end of the games returned zero results as of 9 p.m. London time. Earlier in the morning, one ticket was available for swimming later this week, with a $450-$650 price range.
Even if an American does score tickets through the official reseller, it’s a bear to connect with them. The will-call location is on a college campus more than seven miles from Olympic Park. It’s a 51-minute journey via the Tube, a bus and foot. And then you repeat the trip.
Inconvenience aside, most visitors from the US are willing to accept them for the opportunity to experience what could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But being unable to purchase even one ticket, while their current neighbors in the UK are offered tens of thousands, is not sitting well.
“For a non-UK and EU citizen like me, it's harder to get event tix, but they sure are concerned about empty seats at most events,” said Liz Kennedy, a Seattle resident who traveled to London with her family with only a few event tickets in hand. “Don't get me wrong. I'm having a blast. But (the) ticket allocation system that resulted in a lot of empty seats is just funny.
“I can't even buy tickets for rowing today. It sucks.”
Don’t even think about trying to go through the official Olympics site. After completing the necessary online forms, perusing through thousands of tickets and adding some to your cart, Americans are greeted with the following message when they go to pay: “Sorry, you are not eligible to purchase tickets on this website.”
So what’s your best bet to score tickets — Craigslist or eBay? No. Some suggest you make friends with a UK or EU resident for a couple of weeks and funnel them your cash.
From the sounds of it online, though, they’re out of luck, as well. There are rampant reports about the official ticketing site crashing, spinning and showing tickets available that suddenly disappear when you try to buy them.
“Why does the ticket site still offer seats until you try to actually buy them?” asked one UK resident, Chris Marshall. “Olympic tickets is an absolute shambles.”
Maybe it’s not all that bad. There could be a new Olympic competition developing right before everyone’s eyes.
“Trying to get an Olympic ticket should be a sport itself,” said Amiera Ariana of London. “It’s hard work.”