You may have noticed plenty of empty seats at the Handball venue, and other sports, for that matter. Even the spectacular opening ceremonies had empty seats. The BBC has filed a report on this growing concern that there are too many half filled arenas when the events are supposedly all sold out. They spoke with Norwegian captain, Gro Hammerseng, after her team’s victory against Angola on Sunday night. Hammerseng expressed her frustration:
“Well, in the first game I was hoping for more, but I was prepared today that it wouldn’t be a full arena. But, I’m sorry that some of the Norwegian people, who are here. They can’t come into the arena. And they are in Beijing, but the can’t come in. And I don’t know why they can’t come in, because it’s not full. My mother, she can’t get in.”
According to an MSNBC story on scalping, this is a common occurence in Beijing as the supply of tickets can’t meet the demand. Speculation is that some tickets purchased by corporate sponsors are not finding their way to the scalping market. Beijing authorities are working to correct the empty seat phenomenon, though, and are considering solving it with free entry for students.
BBC Global News Summary Podcast (12 Aug,0300): http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/worldservice/globalnews/globalnews_20080812-0248.mp3 (The Olympics story starts at 08:30)
MSNBC Story on Scalping: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26134234/
Gro Hammerseng Bio: http://www.nbcolympics.com/athletes/athlete=763/bio/index.html
Addendum: The New York Times has the following story on fake fans: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/13/sports/olympics/13fans.html?hp
A Washington Post reporter helps Swedes buy scalped handball tickets: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/2008/08/scalping_tix_with_swedish_wome.html