Shut out of sporting events, fans sat in a field and watched highlights on massive television monitors while rows of seats went unoccupied. Deborah Gembara reports.
REPORTER: It's an image Olympic organizers aren't keen for the public to see --- empty seats at some of the most popular sporting events. On Sunday, they were scrambling to respond to the uproar caused by rows of vacant seats beamed worldwide. What's to blame? It depends on who you ask. Some say an overly complicated ticketing system while others point to corporate sponsors failing to fill their sections. London 2012 Chairman Sebastian Coe offered up yet another theory --- the empty sections have been reserved for sports officials who can spend limited time leisurely watching different events.
LONDON 2012 CHAIRMAN SEBASTIAN COE: "I don't want to see swathes of those seats empty, and that is why we will make sure where we possibly can that we get people into those as and when they are not being used."
REPORTER: Organizers say they are now looking to fill seats with military, local school children and teachers or upgrading other ticket holders. It's cold comfort however to fans who find themselves shut out of different events.
AUSTRALIAN TOURIST: "We've come all the way from the other side of the world to be here, so if people aren't using those seats, by all means, let us in, because it's a global event and the globe should be invited."
MAN: "My wife was trying to get tickets for gymnastics today and we couldn't, so seeing the gymnastics arena yesterday half empty it is a bit disappointing but, yeah, they should fill them up as much as possible because I am sure people would come."
DUTCH TOURIST: "It's very bad, we like to go into Holland play now (sic) for the hockey but we got cards only for the afternoon and not the morning. We like to come in, but you can't buy any tickets and we know that there are empty places and that is bad that you can't come in and it isn't true."
AUSTRALIAN TOURIST: "Let everyone else come in. Most people don't get to see and be involved in Olympics, so it's not very fair to be honest."
The empty venues have not gone unnoticed by athletes. Australian swimmer Libby Trickett.
LIBBY TRICKETT: "I hope that they can pack that venue, because it is a brilliant venue and it deserves to be filled to capacity."
REPORTER: One solution officials are considering is allowing fans to take open seats if they aren't filled within the first 30 minutes of the event. Deborah Gembara, Reuters.
• Row upon row of empty seats... as tickets sent to foreign VIPs go on the black market (Mail Online)
• Olympics empty seats row: Locog calls in the army (again) (The Guardian)
• Adams comment cartoon (The Telegraph)