The four sponsors released statements over the weekend defending their ticket policy and insisting that their allocated tickets were given to winners of competitions, partners, customers and staff. Sponsors were given 8 per cent of the 8.8 million tickets made available.
A statement from P&G reads: “Our Olympics partnership is all about celebrating and recognising the mums and families of Olympians and mums everywhere. The vast majority of our ticket allocation has been given to the mums and families of Olympians and to our consumers through competitions and promotions in stores and we hope they all make it to the Games. Any unallocated tickets are returned to LOCOG.”
Coca-Cola, which has already come under criticism from health groups for its sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympic Games, says it “believes the usage our tickets have been extremely high so far.”
Meanwhile, Cadbury revealed that majority of its tickets went to competition winners and volunteers as well as some to charities. It adds: “We have not had any concerns with guests taking up their allocations.”
Thousands of sports fans who missed out on the tickets have taken to social media to vent their fury at organisers over whether the fault lay with sponsors attending events.
While Olympic chiefs acknowledged the unfulfilled seats, Lord Seb Coe declined to blame corporate partners, whom he had earlier promised to “name and shame” if they did not use their allocation.
Lord Coe insisted that venues were “stuffed to the gunnels” with members of the public, but nevertheless bemoaned the empty seats and said that an investigation would be carried out to identify who the seats belonged to.
Teachers, schoolchildren and off-duty members of the armed forces will be invited to fill the empty seats in response to the the widespread anger at the unoccupied seats.