The blame for empty seats at Sochi seem to point to the tightened security on Feb. 9, according to a spokesperson. Organizers say that about 92 percent of the seats were sold on the first day of main competition.
“The Adler MTC will not sell tickets on the 10th of February. The only service available at this location will be the collection of tickets,” a notice said on the Sochi Winter Olympics website.
The blame for empty seats were not a problem on the first day of medal competition for Saturday. There was a reasonable crowd, but some banks of seats could still be seen for most disciplines. However, the spokeswoman for the organising committee, Alexandra Kosterina, said 92 per cent of the available tickets for Saturday had been sold and “we are happy with that”.
“We saw pretty full stadiums. We had a good turnout and hope it will get even better as the Olympics go on,” a spokeswoman for the organizing committee, Alexandra Kosterina, told EuroNews.
She confirmed that thousands of spectators had not made it to events on time, or at all, due to tough security controls that created long queues.
“People need to understand what time to travel and you need to come in advance,” she said.
She admitted that the blame for empty seats could be when “we had some problems due to the Russian mentality of arriving as close as possible to the start of an event and never in advance.” Asked what the real attendance was on Saturday, taking into account those who had bought tickets but did not show up, she gave a figure of 81 per cent. Around 40,000 people had bought tickets for Saturday’s events, she added.
The Sochi Winter Games, a project championed by President Vladimir Putin, are under unprecedented scrutiny after a litany of concerns about Russia’s suitability as a host, which could be part of the blame for empty seats.
The United States has its own security team at this year’s Olympics, which has only made matters worse. The heightened security was added after recent threats of terrorism at the games.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) spokesman Mark Adams praised the start to the Games. “There was great action and great venues. The athletes are at the centre, as it should be.”
The blame for empty seats will surely be an ongoing issue after the Sochi Winter Games.