The biggest overseas ticketing agency for the London 2012 Games has been besieged by complaints after hundreds of buyers were forced to wait in lines for more than six hours and others received groups of tickets that were not seated together.
CoSport, which is the official overseas ticketing partner for the United States,
Australia and Canada, was the subject of complaints in the U.S. last week
after it told hundreds of purchasers they would not be receiving their tickets in the mail as promised and that they would have to collect their tickets in person from a
box office in London instead.
By lunchtime, more than 200 people were waiting in line at a Paddington ticket office in temperatures of up to 90 degrees. Some customers had to leave without collecting their
tickets, while others found out that they had bought a group of tickets that
were scattered in different locations at the same event. One buyer from Toronto said three of four sets of tickets ordered for him and his 10-year-old daughter had come back with
the seats a long way apart. "Having her sitting sections away and rows
removed from me is simply
unacceptable," he said.
Another visitor from Northern England said it took CoSport staff at least 15 minutes to process each person in line. He returned to his home in Harrogate empty-handed, with a promise from
CoSport that his tickets would be couriered to him. "I'm very
nervous about this but still had [to wait] over two hours queuing and then a train to catch back to Harrogate. So, a wasted day, almost [$240] spent on train and food, and still no tickets," he said.
A London 2012 spokeswoman shirked any responsibility for the fowl up, saying that CoSport would have to deal with the fallout, and advised purchasers to contact the company directly.
The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) gave CoSport the exclusive contract to
handle distribution of tickets and hospitality packages for the London
Games. The company is owned by the controversial Seattle millionaire Sead
Dizdarevic, a well-known figure in Olympic circles for almost three
decades. Dizdarevic was implicated in the fallout from the 1999 Salt Lake City scandal, which rocked the Olympic movement to its core. The IOC was forced to implement wholesale reforms after it emerged that large bribes had been paid to
IOC members to bring the 2002 Winter Olympics to the city.
But this is not the first ticketing scandal involving tickets from CoSport at the 2012 games. Last week, it emerged that the firm was sending out tickets to members of the public that
were originally intended for Games sponsors. IOC rules strictly prohibit reselling of tickets originally issued to Olympic sponsors. Recipients of Olympic tickets bought from CoSport (at a premium) reported that the tickets they received were stamped as having been originally issued to Dow Chemical and General Electric.
The IOC suspended the sales process for the Sochi 2014 Winter Games
while it investigates allegations that Olympic
officials and agents representing 54 countries offered London 2012
tickets on the black market.