Friday, January 16, 2009

I love the Olympics... slightly less than I used to

For as long as I can remember, I've always loved the Olympics.  Two weeks every other year when the likelihood of calling-in sick to work goes up exponentially.  The pageantry, the competition, the 24-hours of always having something great to watch on TV, even if it's delayed or rerun.  

Think of how excited I must be to have that biennial spectacle taking place a mere two-hours away from where I live!  I can actually GO see events live!  And maybe, just maybe, I can score some tickets to the Opening Ceremony, historically the most elaborate and exciting event there is to see!  Then, watch that excitement get shot down when we learn of the dirty reality of the Olympics and their ticketing process.

Ron Judd, in his Seattle Times Olympics Insider blog, provides his rant and background on the ticketing process, and it's enough to give you bad dreams.  Don't read if you want to keep your visions of the Olympics as the "Disneyland of Athletic Competition."  The truth is, as with anything else, money drives the whole thing.  

It's no surprise that demand would outpace supply for tickets, especially for the bigger events.  I'm not just a bitter fan who requested Olympics tickets (that I'm fortunate enough to be in a position to "afford" though even that's questionable) and was almost completely denied.  Really, it's the process that I find appalling.  I requested tickets to several events, including the Opening Ceremony, but received only one of my requests for some curling tickets (though my credit card is quite relieved).  The so-called "ticket lottery" appears to be nothing more than a way for CoSport to offload a ridiculously small amount of tickets with the appearance that any Olympics fan could get some tickets.  

As always, now the ticket scalpers, whether professional or just "Joe lottery-winner" who happened to get their hands on a few high-demand tickets, are turning them around at what can only amount to a ridiculous markup over the already ridiculous markup they paid for the tickets in the first place.  It's enough to make my stomach turn.  

Maybe I am a little bitter about it.  But I really just wish there was a more fair and honorable system to it all, one that wasn't driven by greed but by making an honest effort to provide anyone interested the chance at reasonably attaining tickets to attend a part of the Olympic experience.  

Will it stop me from watching the Olympics?  Of course not.  But I can't say I feel the same way about them that I used to.  And who knows, maybe my proximity to Vancover will allow me to capitalize on someone trying to dump some tickets at the last-minute at a reasonable price?  I can hope.  On the bright side, the Opening Ceremony will probably look even better on TV anyway... yeah, I will at least pretend to believe that.  

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