Saturday, February 19, 2011

So What Did You See At The Olympics Grandad?

It's good to know that even in these times of austerity, impending job losses in the public sector and the fall of Governments across North Africa and the Middle East that here in Blighty conspicuous consumption hasn't gone away.

Hot on the heels of the news that tickets for the Champions League final at Wembley can cost £176 each, remember UEFA moved the final last year to a Saturday night to attract more families, comes the sound of jaws dropping as prices for the 2012 athletics final are announced. Just going back to the Champions League final for a second it's worth pointing out that 'new' Wembley holds 75,000 and that the equivalent of 25,000 tickets are reserved for hospitality packages, Royalty, newspaper journos etc, leaving just two-thirds for general sale.

Anyway back to Stratford and the news that to watch Usain Bolt retain his title as worlds fastest archer could and I stress could, cost you £725. Now I know that there has to be give and take on these type of events, pitched somewhere between having five million applicants for tickets and bringing in enough revenue to make the games at least break even but this looks plain daft to me. Of course it will be a sell out but how many people from one of London's poorest boroughs, Newham, will be there?

Away from the money pit of East London the timetable of events for 2012 looks exciting and there's something for everyone from archery at Lords to the sailing at Weymouth and all stops between. The cycle race, which begins and ends of The Mall, will give plenty of people in Surrey the chance to see some of the worlds great athletes in action, the only downside I can see is that it clashes with the traditional third week of Le Tour meaning that the likes of Cav, Wiggins and Thomas will have to give France a miss next year.

Speaking of Weymouth I don't think I've posted this before, a quick use of the search facility didn't reveal that I had, but I have two clients who wanted to get involved in the Olympics at Weymouth and they show the two ends of the spectrum when dealing with any form of bureaucracy. The first is a lady who has worked for ten years for Germany's leading tyre manufacture, she's been based in the U.K and last year decided that her pension was sufficient to allow her to retire in her mid fifties. At the end of 2009 she was head hunted by one of the Olympic sub-committees who asked her if she would like to be on their advisory council, she said yes but she couldn't accept any remuneration for the job because it would not be tax efficient (oh yes, this type of person does exist!), they said sorry but they had to pay for her service, at which point she said she would offer her services to another organisation for nothing, thereby beating David Cameron in the Big Society Stakes by a year or so.

The second client owns a tall-ship now, even if the mere thought of sailing makes you throw-up the sight of this magnificent vessel in full sail is something to behold, he approached the local Olympic liaison officer and offered the ship as a venue for spectators and the great and the good to watch the events from sea. The spokesperson told him that he would have to make an offer to the Olympic organisers of at least £10,000 if he wanted the ship to be used. Now I know we have become accustomed to F1 paying cities for the right to stage races and towns in France bid each year for the right to host the race for thirty seconds or so but this seemed to me, and the client, outrageous.


Span Ows said...

LOL! Excellent anecdotes of your clients...both highlighting oddities: one offering help but told to pay and the other one having their help refused for not accepting to be paid!

Paul said...

It's a funny old world.

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