The ticketing process for Olympic Men’s Hockey is mysterious. Only a portion of the arena capacity is available to ordinary fans while large blocks of seating are dedicated to VIPs, sponsors and other privileged souls, including BC Liberal politicians, of course.
It is shameful for valuable seats – the Craigslist price had been $650 each – to go empty throughout a game, despite huge unmet demand. Organizers could require ticket holders to attend by some moment, perhaps within 20 minutes of scheduled start time, to maintain reserved seating. If a place is left empty after that point, give admittance to a standby patron. Alternatively, have a pool of deserving youngsters on standby, ready to take an unused seat, perhaps during the first period break.
Another possibility is to follow the lead of televised awards shows, such as Critics’ Choice and the Academy Awards. Bring in professional seat fillers, people assigned to sit in empty places at least to provide the appearance and atmosphere of a full house.
Here are scenes from the “sold-out” Men’s Play-offs Quarterfinals, USA vs Switzerland, Feb 24/09 (click on photo for larger view):