GOLD MEDAL PLAN
How to Score Tickets to the 2012 Summer Olympics
All the inside tips you need to snap up affordable event tickets, book a well-chosen place to stay, and make your way around the host city.
On your application, you select the sporting events you're interested in attending and designate the specific price you want to pay. If tickets to the price category you select are unavailable, then CoSport will next attempt to give you tickets to a lower-priced category; if tickets in that category are also sold out, CoSport will check for tickets in higher-priced categories and then contact you to gauge your interest in buying them.
The lowest-priced tickets for the highest-profile events will be the most sought after, so you can boost your odds of triumphing in the lottery by requesting tickets to a lower-profile event—or by being willing to splurge. The maximum number of tickets you can apply for in each request is 48, though you can submit multiple requests.
Applicants will receive an e-mail from CoSport in mid-May to remind them to check their CoSport account online to see if their ticket requests were successful. At that time, applicants will be obligated to purchase any tickets that have been set aside for them. Only Visa credit and debit cards, electronic checks, and wire transfers can be used to purchase Olympic tickets.
If you are unsuccessful in this lottery round, don't give up: An additional lottery round may very well be announced at a later date.
(3) Purchase individual tickets at marked-up prices
Plan B is to use a broker, such as Ticket City (800/880-8886), which announced plans on its website to obtain London Olympic tickets and resell them in advance of the Games, likely at significantly marked-up prices. These tickets will probably become available for purchase sometime in June 2011.
A note of caution, however: While buying tickets through brokers is not illegal, it is not always a safe bet. A number of Olympic scams have popped up in recent years with third-party organizations trying to pass themselves off as licensed ticket brokers. The International Olympic Committee has been trying to crack down on these operations—but not always successfully. A warning on the official Team USA website, for instance, points out that CoSport is "the only authorized ticket reseller to sell individual event tickets" and cautions spectators to "please be aware that other, unauthorized entities or bogus websites may purport to have Olympic tickets for sale; however, you can only be certain that Olympic tickets are authentic if they are purchased through CoSport."
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What events should I go to?
There are 39 categories of sports to choose from, such as gymnastics and wrestling. (You can download a PDF for details on all the events and prices by clicking this link.) The most popular events are the opening and closing ceremonies, swimming, diving, and women's gymnastics.
Your best bet is to nab tickets for track-and-field events, such as the men's 100-meters final. Seats are comparatively easy to come by for track and field, given the large size of the new Olympic Stadium in eastern London (80,000 seats) and the high frequency of track-and-field events, with 47 medal events from August 3 to 12.
Boost your chances at nabbing tickets even more by requesting them for the early rounds of competition, instead of the sessions when medals will be awarded. Even watching a less glamorous round of preliminary contests live in London (starting at $32 a seat, depending on the sport) will still be more thrilling than watching an Olympic sports event on TV at home.
How on earth am I going to get around London? Will it be a madhouse?
Don't stress: Navigating London is less intimidating than you might expect. Even though the city's transportation system will be faced with shuttling hundreds of thousands of additional passengers, the bulk of events will take place adjacent to rail and subway stations. There's no need to shell out for expensive taxis when you can take the well-connected public transit options.
Spectators with tickets for sporting events in London will receive a complimentary Games Travelcard, which will entitle them to utilize the city's rail and bus networks on the day of events for no extra charge.