Olympics Revisited – Any tickets left?

Posted by Charlie on 5 May, 2011

Level – Intermediate

The deadline for buying Olympic tickets has passed; what happens now?

May article of the month from the e-lesson archive: ‘Olympics 2012: value for money?’

In 1992, I went to the Olympics in Barcelona. I bought tickets for every event I wanted to see, at reasonable prices. Now, 20 years later, I have applied online for London 2012. I have no idea which tickets I will get. I might get none, or I might get everything I applied for, plus a credit card bill which is far from ‘reasonable’! What’s more, around half the tickets for the most popular events will go to corporate customers and VIP guests. What’s happened to the spirit of the Olympics?

I applied for my tickets long before the deadline (23.59pm 26th April) was extended by an hour due to an incredible last-minute surge on the website. Unlike many others, I only applied for the number of tickets I could afford; unlike them, I won’t receive a huge credit card bill. Still, I do have to wait until the applications are processed and then, if my chosen events are over-subscribed, hold my breath as the ballot is drawn! It is far more complicated and expensive to get tickets for the Olympics than 20 years ago – if, indeed, I’m successful!

Some areas you may wish to explore with your business English students are:

  • Is anyone intending to go to the Olympics? How easy or difficult has it been to get tickets?
  • Do you think it is right to reserve so many tickets for corporate clients?
  • Do you believe the Olympics have become too commercialised?
  • Can a simple, fair system be devised for selling tickets to major sporting events?

The Olympics began as an amateur event about sport and the joy of competing. Today’s Olympics are arguably more about corporate sponsorship and high-priced tickets. Let’s see if I get any tickets … or if I have to wait until Rio de Janeiro in 2016!

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