The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire)
HOW TO SEE THE GAMES
With tickets for Glasgow 2014 on sale from today, Andrew Youngson finds out how to see the Commonwealth Games up close and in person
With less than a year to go until the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games begins, excitementamongthe 71 participating nations has ramped up in the last few months.
The anticipation will receive a huge boost today with around one million tickets being released on sale to the public.
Designing a ticketing modelfor such a large-scale event brings many chal- lenges but the team behind the system, which launches at 10am, is confident it has chosen the best one to fit with the games’ ethos of accessibility and transparency.
“Ticketing is a very public thing and it’s one of those points in time when we become even more part of the public consciousness,” said Ty Speer, deputy chief executive of the Glasgow 2014 games.
“If we want to be a very public and accessible games, then ticketing is a very important part of that.”
Mr Speer, who was client services director for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, was appointed last year to lead Glasgow 2014’s £100mill i on commercial programme.
In this new role, he has overseen the process of selecting and implementing the ticketing model, from working with partners Ticketmaster, to setting up the customer service structure.
The pitfalls of choosing certain ticketing modelsfor global-scale events have been well publicised in the past. Most recently criticised was the London 2012 games, where many sporting events had vacant seats – a situation contributed to by an unpopular random ballot ticketing model, plus manyVIP allocations being left unused.
To safeguard against a repeat at Glasgow 2014, Mr Speer and his team have taken heed of previous mistakes. He said: “We have learned from lots of events. Certainly London is one of those. If the biggest ticketing event in your country happens two years before you, you should learn from that.”
The Glasgow 2014 model, Mr Speer said, focuses on three main aims – affordability, transparency and availability.
A number of choices have been made to help them achieve this, he added.
For example, in terms of affordability, two-thirds of tickets will cost £25 or less and half-price tickets are available at all sport sessions for under 16s and over 60s.
For transparency, the team has aimed to make the ticket system as easy to understand as possible, with multiple payment methods available and members of the public only receiving tickets that they specifically apply for.
They will be successful in their application in full or not at all – no substitutions or random ballots.
Meanwhile, in terms of availability, Mr Speer said that it had been vital to “give people confidence that tickets are available”.
He said: “We have made a very strong and clear up-front commitment that 70% of all revenue tickets will be made available to the public, so we think people should feel really confident that there will be seats available.
“It’s not something where VIPs or sponsors have taken all the tickets.
“It comes down to us wanting tomake things fair and affordable so that everyone can come along and be a part of it.” Aberdeen-born swimming champion David Carry has been selected to help spread the word of the Glasgow 2014 games.
Today he embarks on a two-week schools tour in his role as ambassador, taking in many north-east establishments, including Robert Gordon’s College where he studied.
Inthe tour, Mr Carry said he aims to highlight the ticket launch, help inspire thenext generation of sport stars, and promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
The Commonwealth Games gold medallist said the 2014 games would be “a world-class event that peo- ple can really tap into and be inspired by”.
He added: “There’s a great level of anticipation for Glasgow 2014, and not just among the elite athletes, but the general public. I urge anybody and everybody to get involved.”