Thousands of glaringly empty VIP seats at supposedly sold-out events -- including swimming and tennis -- during the first full morning of Olympic competitions has prompted the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) to launch an investigation. It was especially upsetting to fans, who were unable to buy tickets because the vacancies weren't available for public purchase. The prized seats included some of the best viewing areas, which were set aside for "Olympic family." In this case, family includes: national governing bodies, sponsors, athletes, IOC officials and media.
"We are aware that some venues have empty seats this morning. We believe the empty seats are in accredited seating areas, and we are in the process of finding out who should have been in the seats and why they weren't there," a spokesperson for LOCOG said.
In particular, hundreds of vacant seats at the Aquatics Centre during the highly anticipated showdown between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte in the 400-meter individual medley had members of the public scratching their heads, as the competition had been sold out for weeks. And seats at many of the Olympic venues have not been cheap. Last-minute tickets for Opening Ceremony were selling for up to $3,000, and fans expressed frustration over event tickets that started at more than $300.
From The Telegraph:
James Pearce, BBC Olympics Correspondent wrote on Twitter this morning: "In Aquatics Centre and surprised to see hundreds of empty seats." Alastair Campbell followed stating that the "big gaps" at the various events "have to be explained."
Members of the public echoed such sentiments. Alex Batchelor wrote: "Can anyone explain why there are lots of empty seats? Tried repeatedly to get tickets without success."
In sharp contrast to the no-shows at the Aquatic Centre and during tennis matches at Wimbledon, the men's cycling road race was attended by hundreds of thousands of fans who lined the streets of London to catch a glimpse of the free event.
So what are they going to do with all those empty seats? It is reported that troops and students will fill them.
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