Wednesday, August 01, 2012

More on Why So Many Empty Olympic Seats

A few days back, I suggested that maybe if the London police weren't arresting so many people for "ticket scalping," entering into voluntary ticket transactions, perhaps there wouldn't be so many empty seats at the Olympics.

Tim Worstall provides some related commentary in the The Daily Telegraph article titled "Of course there are empty Olympic seats: our Victorian government is arresting anyone who tries to sell them," here's an excerpt:

"Think it through for a moment. There are some people over here that have something they don't value, while there are other people over there who value those things highly. What we'd like is for those things, whatever they are, to move from those who assign little value to them to those who assign a higher value to them.

This is true of anything: this movement of resources from lower to higher valued uses is known as "creating wealth." It is the single most important contributor to the wealth of nations. It is known as "trade."

And our government, in its wisdom, has made it illegal for anyone to broker this increase in individual and national wealth, resulting in the TV cameras of the world panning across rows of empty seats."

19 Comments:

At 8/01/2012 3:24 PM, Blogger The King said...

My understanding is the seats are sold to sponsors of the Olympic games, but there's no efficient way of re-selling the tickets. The Czechs developed a facility, but none of the "others" seem to have done so. Apparently, a similar situation occurred during the Beijing Olympics, but the empty seats were filled with "volunteers."

It's just an inefficient mess.

 
At 8/01/2012 4:52 PM, Blogger implied volatility said...

Another European disaster.

http://godelsmarket.blogspot.com

 
At 8/01/2012 10:11 PM, Blogger Glenn Jericho said...

I think that London is probably the most expensive city, in regards to accommodations, food, and travel, that has hosted the Summer Olympics in recent history. That coupled with the economy could be enough to cause a significant number of upper-middle class people to say it's just not worth the bother.

 
At 8/02/2012 4:57 AM, Blogger Tim Worstall said...

In the Daily Telegraph.....not Forbes....but glad you picked it up all the same.

 
At 8/02/2012 7:03 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Thanks Tim, sorry for the mistake, it's fixed now!

 
At 8/02/2012 7:42 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

So, I heard on the radio this morning (and take this for what it's worth), but apparently many of the seats that are empty are reserved for corporate ticket holders. However, many are not being used for one reason or another, but they cannot sell them to the public at the moment.

 
At 8/02/2012 8:29 AM, Blogger juandos said...

The UK Daily Mail says: 60,000 seats are left empty - every day! Organisers fight to fill the gaps as VIP guests shun their freebies
Fans desperate for tickets complain of website crashes and unavailability
Organisers face huge task of clawing back unwanted tickets from officials and dignitaries so they can be resold
...

 
At 8/02/2012 9:49 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

VIPs shun their freebies: Guess the value is not high enough for the price paid.



I notice Romney doesn't seem to have this problem charging $50,000 a seat for a VIP dinner. I guess we have a couple of data points on VIPs value system.

 
At 8/02/2012 10:07 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"I notice Romney doesn't seem to have this problem charging $50,000 a seat for a VIP dinner. I guess we have a couple of data points on VIPs value system"...

Well that's O.K. hydra but maybe your deadbeat boyfriend could take a few pointers from Romney...

Obama stiffs California city $35,000 while Romney pays his bill

 
At 8/02/2012 12:13 PM, Blogger Mike said...

"Guess the value is not high enough for the price paid."

What?

If these were people you didn't despise (due to their social/economic position) you'd call that "charity".

 
At 8/02/2012 12:51 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Random observation:

And I'll admit I'm basing this on something odd - timeshare travel.
My father-in-law owns a timeshare through an international company that allows him to trade his time and use it anywhere in the world. The only place he has had no luck in trading his time is Europe in the summer. The reason, they say, is due to the vacation habits of Europeans. They tend to buy a timeshare and actually use it for their summer holidays.

Since most of the properties that we are interested in are usually coastal and warm (Spain, Italy, Southern France, etc.) I just wonder how many are willing to give up their normal trip to go to chilly, rainy London and, on the flip-side, how many Londoners are willing to give up their trip to Spain to stay home for traffic and synchronized diving....

May be anecdotal nonsense or could be a contributor.

 
At 8/02/2012 5:29 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

"Guess the value is not high enough for the price paid."

What?

If these were people you didn't despise (due to their social/economic position) you'd call that "charity".

==============================

What makes you think I despise anyone?

The seats were comped to VIPs, hence the seats were free. Even at a price of free, they did not consider the value received high enough to use the seats. It was a comment on economic theory, not individuals of any socioeconomic status.

The $50,000 seats at a Romney dinner, apparently, were considered well worth the price. somehow I doubt the value received was in the food.

 
At 8/02/2012 5:31 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Well that's O.K. hydra but maybe your deadbeat boyfriend could take a few pointers from Romney...

Obama stiffs California city $35,000 while Romney pays his bill

=================================

Obama should pay his bill, like anybody else.

He is not my boyfriend.

 
At 8/02/2012 9:58 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon M:

"So, I heard on the radio this morning (and take this for what it's worth), but apparently many of the seats that are empty are reserved for corporate ticket holders. However, many are not being used for one reason or another, but they cannot sell them to the public at the moment."

Then there's no problem. the seats have been sold, and the money is in the bank. Low attendance is not a problem, as it's not really necessary that anyone actually watch the games, only that the seats are sold. There's no reason for corporate ticket holders to give up what they've paid for, they can leave them vacant if they choose.

 
At 8/03/2012 10:12 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

There's no reason for corporate ticket holders to give up what they've paid for, they can leave them vacant if they choose.

But I guess they didn't pay for them. Well, not all of them. From what I understand, many of the tickets were complimentary.

 
At 8/03/2012 11:37 AM, Blogger jjauregui said...

Attitude is everything. No wonder the EU economy is in free fall.

 
At 8/03/2012 11:55 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"But I guess they didn't pay for them. Well, not all of them. From what I understand, many of the tickets were complimentary."

Oh...that's a different story, then.

 
At 8/03/2012 9:24 PM, Blogger Michael E. Marotta said...

As you might expect, more than one cause is at work or play. Read:
"What has caused the problem?
While some empty seats were those reserved for dignitaries who did not turn up, others were among 120,000 unsold tickets allocated to foreign countries which have not returned them. Around eight per cent of tickets have been made available to sponsors and three quarters to the public. Another 12 per cent go to National Olympic Committees five per cent to the “Olympic family” of athletes and officials. While some of the unused seats are those reserved for the “Olympic family” who simply do not turn up to events they are not interested in, the greater problem comes from the agencies who handle the sale of the tickets abroad. Up to 70,000 of those tickets could be simply thrown away because it is not cost-efficient for ticket agencies to return them. Another 50,000 premium tickets are being held back by foreign ticket agencies hoping to make a killing by selling them at grossly inflated prices at the last minute. Of the 8.8 million tickets for Games sessions, around 1.2 million go to the national Olympic committees of foreign countries. Most of the Olympics main sponsors denied they had failed to use their allocation."
Telegraph story 30 July here

 
At 8/04/2012 11:34 AM, Blogger Jim said...

For anyone who has spent any time in London, the issue is not just idiotic scalping laws.

Perhaps nowhere in western society has regulation so screwed up supply and pricing of virtually every amenity and logistical chain.

That huge gobs of seats have been apportioned to the 'elite' does not surprise me at all. London is central planning at its best, without the wherewithal to realize who they are and bus in their welfare hordes to cover up their true nature.

 

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