Not Even a Bronze Medal for the Command-and-Control Approach to Olympic Tickets in London
1. "No Gold Medal for Olympic Ticket Market" - These Olympics provide a disturbing snapshot of what happens when event organizers stack the deck against ordinary fans and try to stop the free market from working.
After describing the details of her difficulties getting tickets, she concludes:
"My hope is that the next Olympic host city outsources their ticketing operations to Amazon.com, or another online retailer that knows a thing or two about high volume Internet commerce. And, hey, corporate sponsors and members of the "Olympic family," give us commoners a break. If you aren't using your tickets, be kind enough to re-sell them. There are a lot of eager buyers out there."
3. From The Economist: "Bring on the Touts" (British term for scalpers): The author observes that "A command-and-control approach to Olympic tickets works no better than a command-and-control approach to any other market," and he blames the half-empty stadiums on Olympic organizers and Britain’s politicians "for refusing to allow a market in tickets."
Bottom Line: The market for tickets, like all markets, is a harsh mistress. Attempts to ignore or circumvent incontrovertible market forces will be punished with severe and predictable consequences: shortages, surpluses, and inefficiencies.