Commonwealth Games 2014: Fewer empty seats pledge

Commonwealth Games organisers have said there will be no repeat of the empty seats fiasco seen at last year's Olympic Games in London. Picture: Getty
Commonwealth Games organisers have said there will be no repeat of the empty seats fiasco seen at last year's Olympic Games in London. Picture: Getty
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THE sight of empty seats at Wimbledon and at some events at last summer’s London Olympics will not be repeated at next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, organisers have promised.

• Commonwealth Games organisers have promised there will be no repeat of the empty seats fiasco seen at last year’s London Olympics

• Corporate hospitality packages were blamed for rows of empty seats at last year’s Games

• 70 per cent of tickets available for Commonwealth Games will be sold to the public, organisers say

David Grevemberg, chief executive of Glasgow 2014, said plans were already in place to minimise the possibility of empty seats and to fill spaces if they do appear.

Blocks of empty seats which had been reserved for the Olympic family were an embarrassing spectacle at early London 2012 events. Some Centre Court seats at Wimbledon were also noticeably vacant and were blamed on those enjoying corporate hospitality.

Grevemberg said Glasgow 2014 would not have the same number of accredited seats as the Olympics, nor of sponsors’ seats, and that contingency plans were also being drawn up. Organisers will consider bringing in local schoolchildren if there are any empty spaces.

He said: “Our ticketing strategy does clearly address this issue from how we have priced it to how we allocate it.

“The fact that at least 70 per cent of our tickets are for the general public in every session shows we are going to push tickets out to as many people as possible.

“The Commonwealth Games is not the Olympics and we have the ability and agility so that when we find there is vacancy to fill it as quickly as possible.”

Two-thirds of the one million tickets will cost £25 or less, and will go on sale from August 19.

Glasgow 2014 is using Ticketmaster, the same agency that ran London 2012’s operation and whose system initially struggled to cope with demand.

Grevemberg said he was confident Ticketmaster was going to do “a great job”.

Glasgow 2014 has a target of £100million to raise through sponsorship, merchandise, tickets and TV rights and Grevemberg said he was “very confident but not for one second complacent” about hitting that mark.

A number of tier one sponsors have already been signed up paying seven-figure sums. Significantly, Virgin Media are among them which will help ensure the participation of the Games’ biggest draw, Usain Bolt.

Meanwhile, organisers will use marketing campaigns to build up friendly rivalry between the home nations but insist they are not concerned about high-profile English athletes such as Jessica Ennis-Hill or Mo Farah being booed by partisan Scottish crowds.

“Glasgow 2014 is creating a platform to continue the great UK celebration of sport,” said Grevemberg.

“A lot of these high-profile athletes from England and Wales have been warmly welcomed to many of the events that Scotland host and I think this is a great opportunity to celebrate the unity and diversity of the home nations in a fair and fun competitive environment and that’s the message we are going to be pushing over the next year.”

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