The independent voice of rowing in Britain

Not another Twitter spat

Posted by rowingvoice on March 30, 2012

It all kicked off again in the GB squad this week, with the news that Zac Purchase is one of several athletes using #2012Tweeps to get more tickets for his relatives.  It follows the Twitter storm which ensued when Purchase blogged that his absence from the national trials earlier this month would “give another athlete a chance at glory”, before swiftly editing his words.

A Tweep is normally a Twitter follower, but this is an Olympic-addicted version.  The #2012Tweeps group was formed to exploit the EU law which allows Britons to buy Games tickets from other EU country websites just as their inhabitants were able to buy directly from LOCOG in the UK ballot.  Those who want to join in are encouraged to learn how to hunt down still-available Olympic tickets from abroad:  some have become ticket-hunting experts.

A few Olympic supporters decided to use their own money and expertise to buy extra overseas tickets for athletes seeking them.  The most high-profile example was Dai Greene, who was sold eight extra tickets for the semi-final and final sessions of his 400m hurdes event, by a helpful Tweep, Londoner Matt de Monte, after Greene vented his dismay at only having the two per session allocated to those trialling for the Games and de Monte decided to find him some more.

Soon Zac Purchase had joined in, and was interviewed on TV with some of the strangers who helped him obtain 14 extra tickets for Saturday 4th August, the day of the lightweight men’s doubles final. But not everyone in the GB Rowing team greeted his success with joy.

“@zacpurchase, just seen you on the BBC news accepting tickets for the games from the public, you had a chance to buy 6 for your family!”, tweeted Pete Reed, frustrated at the difficulty long-term rowing supporters who don’t happen to be related to rowers have had in obtaining anything, let alone 14 finals tickets.  He later added to supporters:  “Please keep your tickets if you are lucky enough to have them and enjoy the racing.”

Purchase’s reply to Reed was, “Sure #2012Tweeps wld help you 2 if you need.”  “You’ve missed the point,” replied Reed.  “I don’t want them, I am lucky to have bought 6 through rowing. I want public to have a fair distribution.”

The overt wrangle raised eyebrows amongst Twitter followers, including Cambridge research assistant Marianna Nodale, who tweeted to a friend, “And the sad thing is, I have got tickets to see the one (Zac) while I wish I got tickets to see the other @PeteReed2012.”

M2 Sports Management (@M2_Sports) joined in, suggesting to Pete Reed, “As the M4- Final is on the same day as the LM2x Final maybe @ZacPurchase might want to share his tickets with his team mates!”  The athlete agency manages eight current-team rowers, though neither Reed nor Purchase.  Of course everyone is jumping the gun a bit since none of the rowers will be selected until early June, and even then will have a lot to do before making their Olympic final.

It is interesting that since Dai Greene’s public confirmation of de Monte reselling the athletics tickets to him, #2012Tweeps have started using the term “helping the athletes to buy”.  Technically, you see, reselling is strictly forbidden, whichever country the tickets were bought from.  “Tickets may only be used by a Purchaser and a family member, friend or colleague who is known to the Purchaser personally and who is intended to accompany the Purchaser to a session”, say the official terms and conditions.  Otherwise, it maintains, transfer of tickets to someone else, even just for face value or as a gift, make them void and the tickets could be seized or cancelled.

Earlier today, eBay removed an advert from someone trying to resell Olympic tickets, and vowed to keep monitoring its site to prevent it happening again.

The 2012Tweeps website includes a ticket database, but probably for legal reasons you have to sign up to be involved before being able to see it (thus becoming a ‘friend’ of the seller).  It has been announced that the official London 2012 ticketing website will re-open in April for a final round of sales to those unsuccessful so far in the various ballots.  The resale site will also re-open soon.

Which side of the debate are you on?  Do you think members of the public helping athletes’ extended families go to the Games is heroic, or would you rather see the extra tickets go to die-hard supporters of the sport who haven’t yet managed to get any?  Have you recently bought tickets from abroad, whether for yourself or a rower?  Are you a 2012Tweep?  Have your say below, on Facebook or on the RowingVoice Twitter feed.

Rachel Quarrell.


2 Responses to “Not another Twitter spat”

  1. I’m glad athlete’s families will get the chance to see them race through the kindness of 2012 Tweeps. But I’m getting narked at the petty sniping that some members of the GB squad are indulging in, in a public forum. Behaving like footballers is not the way to enthuse a domestic fan base.

  2. JoshM said

    As a member of the public I wouldn’t be going to the Olympics if it wasn’t for the direction and tips given to me by the people on twitter.

    Seems like you may have turned what I consider an act of kindness into a bad thing?

    If anyone is interested in how to still obtain tickets legally in the EU then I suggest getting on twitter and following #2012tweeps

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