Today LOCOG put their final large batch of Olympic tickets on sale on a first come, first served basis. Previous sales have been beseiged, but the patient and the lucky have escaped with some precious passports to the summer sporting carnival. So, before you dive in when the cyber-rope is lifted at 11am BST, read our tactical guide to maximise your chances of joining them.
What are the odds this time?
It is estimated that there are around 450,000 (non football) tickets available. You’re able to buy a maximum of four tickets (unless you want football in which case you can buy dozens) for a maximum of four sessions across all the available sports. So theoretically, 75,000 people could all buy their full allocation of 16. Hundreds of thousands applied last year, though the interest of many seems to have lapsed as far fewer took advantage of the recent presale dedicated to them. You may not be rubbing shoulders with more than a million folk this time, but even so it’s still going to be veeeery busy.
Can I get tickets for the athletics or the velodrome?
No. The little that was available was snapped up in the aforementioned presale. You’re also out of luck if you want many of the other very high demand events such as tennis, swimming (including synchronised), equestrian sports and both the ceremonies as well as some more surprising favourites like BMX, canoe slalom, rhythmic gymnastics, triathlon and modern pentathlon.
Can I at least get onto the Olympic Park?
Oh yes! You can even get into the Aquatics Centre if you’re up for some diving and there’s also more than 10,000 tickets available for both the handball (which GB are not very good at) and the hockey (which we are!), not to mention a few for Water Polo and the basketball preliminaries. Choose these in preference to the Olympic Park tickets themselves which get you through the gate, but not into actual sport.
Excellent! A bargain day out in Stratford it is, then!
Steady on there a minute. We expect there will be some cheap tickets available for those sports, but the indications are that the majority available are at the mid to high end.
Have all the cheap tickets gone, then?
By no means! They’re just mostly available at the less iconic venues. If you only want to watch people engage in various forms of combat at the ExCel centre your luck is very much in. There’s acres of space in the seats for the Table Tennis there, too.
Hang on… when you listed the sold out stuff earlier you didn’t mention artistic gymnastics or rowing. Are you telling me they have availability?
We certainly are, but you’ll have to be quick and lucky. There’s also a few going for the shooting and trampolining (NOT combined, though we think they should consider that for Rio…), the mountain biking and the sailing down at Weymouth as well as more than 10,000 each for the archery over at Lords, the Beach Volleyball at Horseguards Parade, the indoor version at Earls Court, the badminton at Wembley Arena and the canoe sprint at Eton Dorney.
That’s loads! So I should take my time, then, and maybe put things into and out of my basket while I imagine myself in the different venues?
Maybe tonight when most of the tickets have gone, but while they’re disappearing off the shelves like wildfire in the hours of daylight you should be calm and prepared, know what you’re going to go for, go straight to it and get in and out as fast as you can. If we understand the process correctly you’ll be selecting tickets that might already have gone by the time you click on them. You may need to wait up to half an hour to find out if others got in a fraction ahead of you. If you’re sure about what you want to see, go for the highest price bracket you can sensibly manage to give yourself the best chance of avoiding frustration and disappointment. If you do encounter delays and glitches, don’t be surprised, do remain calm and do be persistent. Sometimes an event looks sold out, but later cancelled tickets drop back onto the shelves unexepectedly and you may get lucky.
Is there still a chance to see medals being won?
Absolutely! It’s true that the medal sessions will have high demand and the lowest availability, but there’s still a lot of opportunities to see champions created, especially if you can go to the higher price categories.
Would you have any particular recommendations for sessions to go for?
Why yes! As we said above, we actually have medal standard hockey teams, especially with the women who’ve already beaten world champions Argentina this year. As luck would have it, the hockey draws were made yesterday and the schedules are decided. GB’s women will definitely play in sessions HO03, 08, 15, 20 and 27 while the men feature in 6, 11, 17, 24 (v Australia) and 30. We’re also partial to a “proper” Olympic sport like weighlifting and in the evening session (WL023) on Tuesday 7th August you can see the super-heavyweight men straining for gold, silver and bronze. Alternatively, you could gamble on British hope Zoe Smith making it down to the 58kg category and going for a medal in session WL006. Britain also has a genuine chance of a medal in the badminton mixed doubles (BD020).