THE fiasco surrounding the release of the final batch of tickets for this summer’s Commonwealth Games is set to enter a second week after organisers revealed the remaining briefs are to be sold in stages in order to avoid the technical problems that have plagued the event.
More than 50,000 tickets will be released from 10am on Wednesday – eight days after Ticketmaster was forced to pull its beleaguered online system due to the vast demand.
Officials at Glasgow 2014 said an “extensive programme of investigating and testing” has taken place since and that measures have been put in place to avoid a repeat of the problems encountered after the release of 100,000 extra tickets on Monday.
Shona Robison, minister for Commonwealth Games and sport, said the new plan to stretch the sale over three days represented a “sensible” option.
However, some users who were forced to queue for hours during the initial release of tickets criticised authorities and claimed they should be given priority over the seats.
Described as the “final sprint” for the Games, would-be spectators encountered delays of up to 30 hours waiting on the website.
Some who called the ticketing hotline were incorrectly billed more than £100, despite being unable to speak to an adviser.
In an effort to placate frustrated customers, organisers have also said that all new orders from UK addresses will be guaranteed free postage, in contrast to the previous £4.50 charge.
David Grevemberg, chief executive of Glasgow 2014, said: “While we sold more than 60,000 tickets through our ticketing website and hotline last week and saw the most incredible support and enthusiasm from the public, the experience of purchasing tickets was frustrating and unacceptable for some people.
“With additional measures in place aimed at managing demwand and the addition of free postage on all orders and a freephone ticketing hotline, we aim to get back to the business of ensuring remaining tickets are sold and that thousands more people can begin to look forward to experiencing the excitement of the Games.”
Mr Grevemberg added: “While we cannot change the past experience of some of our customers, we do want to thank everyone for their huge support of the Games. In less than three months’ time, great athletes from across the Commonwealth are coming to Glasgow for a festival of sport on a scale of which Scotland has never experienced before.”
Chris Edmonds, chairman of Ticketmaster UK, added: “Our team has been working tirelessly to review, analyse and rectify the issues that were experienced on the site.”
The specific breakdown of which available sports will be released for sale – and on which days – will be announced early next week.
Scottish Conservative leader and Glasgow MSP Ruth Davidson, who criticised the situation as “shambolic” on Thursday, offered a tentative welcome for the new ticketing launch announcement.
She said: “Let’s hope for no more delays and that the many families left disappointed last week are able to get through for a chance to see a truly great sporting occasion.”