Is anyone actually attending the Olympics?

Yes, the stadium looked filled for the opening ceremonies, but for every single event I’ve tuned into, the camera shots of the stands look like only competitors’ friends and families are there. Even women’s gymnastics, one of the traditional great draws, has only a few front rows and a few other clumps of attendees there.

Is that true across the board? Were so many fans scared away by stories about oppressive security, chaotic organization, and incomplete construction that there are as few as it seems? Does anyone have hard info on Athens’ ticket sales?

The TV people said that ticket sales were good (though last-minute), but that this weekend (the Feast of the Assumption?) is a huge holiday in Greece, and guaranteed that noone would be there. They also said that the cheaper balcony seats, not visible to the cameras on the floor, was quite full.

Just to add to what Nametag said, I saw Bob Costas explaining this the other night and I thought he also said something about gymnastics not being the huge draw in Greece that it is in the US and lots of other countries, which is another reason for the sparse crowd at the gymnastics competition.

The reports I read at the beginning of the Games said that ticket sales were well below expectations. Of 5.5 million possible seats, 2.5 million had been sold, and another million might additionally be as the games progressed.

While you’ll probably see lots of empty seats now, you more likely will see completely full stadiums for the finals of the more popular events.

[QUOTE=Nametag]
The TV people said that ticket sales were good (though last-minute), but that this weekend (the Feast of the Assumption?) is a huge holiday in Greece, and guaranteed that noone would be there. QUOTE]You’d think those responsible for scheduling might have anticipated this conflict and delayed the games by what…3 days?

They might, if it were not for the fact that TV coverage is far more important, and far more lucrative than ticket sales. Miss a weekend of prime-time television? Are you mad?

If good attendances were important, you wouldn’t hold a sporting event in Athens at any time in August. They’re not important, so far as the organisers of the games are concerned.

My husband’s boss’ daughter is there. She said tickets are easy to come by but affordable places to stay are not. She also said that it was extremely difficult getting into the country - flights were completely booked, other public transportation completely booked, etc.

The lack of accommodation was also cited in our local paper as one reason for small crowds.

I checked the website for buying ticket and the cheapest seats for gymnastics were 150 euros earlier, but now have been marked down to 120 euros.

The expensive seats are 200 euros.

Some sports are pretty cheap. Badminton is 15 euros, but I believe the finals were already sold out.

Track and field wasn’t as expensive as gymnastics, but it’s in a much bigger venue.

Well. That’s pretty cynical. :wink:

I for one am glad to see that although the games were very important for the Greeks to get and a source of great pride, that they still come in second to a religious observance. I can’t imagine an NFL playoff game having open seats just because it fell on Christmas, but the Greeks put Assumption Day above the Olympics.

If the Greeks had one big soccer match going on in Athens last weekend, there is no doubt there would be an enormous crowd.

But there are about 20 different things to see all over Greece at different times. And a lot of the events weren’t all that popular either.

There was a news story tonight about the high prices of accomodation - many visitors are electing to stay in tents rather than stay in 3 star hotels for 1000 dollars a night.

This article http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2004/olympics/2004/track/08/18/bc.oly.shotputrun.ap/index.html has a picture of the ORIGINAL olympic “stadium” looks pretty crowded. This article http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2004/olympics/2004/writers/08/18/ancient.stadium/index.html says there were 10,000 spectators (doesn’t say how many it fits)

Brian
who thinks it was way cool to have some competetion at the original site.

Bumping this to see if there has been any further news about the small crowds at these events. I watched the last part of the Iraq/Australia football match, and was shocked at how few people seemed to be there. The judo matches had smaller crowds than we had at my local college tourneys.

From what I have seen on TV ,Saturday night the athletics stadium was full (50,000 ) , the velodrome seemed pretty full over the last couple of days and other events seemed quite well attended.

Although all reports seem to agree that ticket sales are low (and that the high price of accomdations is discouraging many people from attending), you should beware of drawing conclusions from TV shots of empty seats.

I was at the Sydney Olympics (had a great time!), and at every venue there was a entire, large section of seating reserved for VIPs and the press, with guards checking for special passes to get you in. These were prime seats - right at the floor/track level. In some cases, one entire side of the arena would have only these special seats. Parts of the events (opening parades of atheletes and most medal ceremonies) were played directly to those seats, and hence to the TV cameras on that side, even though this meant the athelete had their backs to almost all of the spectators.

The thing is, unless it was a really premium event, only a few press folk would be in this entire section. So even at a “sold-out” event, a camera panning the crowd from a side view would often show an apparently empty section of seats.