Empty seats in London

July 29, 2012
Sparse fans in the stadium

“Early indications are that the empty seats are in accredited seating areas...” so says the London Organizing Committee spokesperson in response to reports that many rows of seats at Olympic venues are sitting empty.

True Sport has seven principles which, when all are included in sport in the right balance and proportion, sport is at its best. This is when sport produces the greatest benefits for those involved – participants and spectators alike. The empty seats, apparently belonging to sponsors and accredited officials, is not a True Sport moment at these Games. It is only worthy of noting because it amplifies the True Sport moment I was struck by on the opening day of competition.

The True Sport moment that struck me was at the Cycling Road Race event. Most of the course was available to spectators to line for free. And while the highly tactical race did not turn out in British rider Cavendish’s favour, an estimated one million spectators lined the course – four, five and six people deep. It was the largest number ever to watch an Olympic Road Race. The crowd witnessed an incredible sporting event and the riders fed off the enthusiasm of the crowd. Both spectators and athletes were better for the experience.

If the sponsors and accredited officials are not interested enough to show up, give those seats away to real sports fans!