It's sad that the reputation of the London Olympics is currently being shaped by its ticketing system. There is an overwhelming sense of disappointment and bafflement amongst so many on the process of applying for tickets. Checking online bank statements to see if you were successful, and if so, then the long wait for confirmation of which tickets you received (in my case, thankfully, Beach Volleyball and Rowing - although nothing actually in the Olympic Park itself). And now, to make matters worse for anyone unsuccessful in their initial application, when given a second chance, the ticket system appeared to crash spectacularly. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games LOCOG says the system didn't actually crash, but the reputational damage was already done this morning as "#olympictickets #fail" filled my Twitter feed.
None of this will take away from what, I am sure, will be a phenomenal Olympic Games. But it is a significant dent in what had been pretty flawless execution by LOCOG so far. LOCOG has given an unforgiving public and media the opportunity to whip them and they'll need to work hard to rebuild positive sentiment to outweigh those who are rightly aggrieved by the process, however complex the task of selling tickets at this scale may be.
The upside is that any concerns over national cynicism towards the Olympics have been swept away through demonstration of enormous interest in the games at the ticketing stage. But this enormous interest also underlines the public's desire for London 2012 to be inclusive. LOCOG's challenge is to satisfy this demand for inclusiveness yet overcome the sense of disappointment over tickets.
We all think Heathrow Terminal 5 is great now, but for BAA and BA it was a disaster and national embarrassment when baggage handling failed on day one and it has taken time to rebuild reputation. LOCOG has a similar scale of challenge on its hands today.
Source: BBC News