Is it really worth £55 for a ticket to see who-knows-what sailing action in Weymouth?
Tickets to the 2012 Olympics are on sale for the next six weeks, but many people are asking what you will get for your money if you go to Weymouth to watch the sailing.
The tickets prices are from £35 to £55 for medal races, but other than stating that the spectator area is to be up on the Nothe (the park area close to town), race areas and details for spectators have yet to be finalised.
So if you are interested you have to buy your ticket in good faith.
Some clues are available, perhaps, in the courses set for the Sail for Gold regattas. And if that sort of format is followed much of the racing will be too far out to see in much detail.
Some wonder what the point is of paying money for a ticket when the same action can be seen free and possibly just as well from areas such as Ringstead or Osmington.
But I think that misses the point. Not every sport fits into a stadium, and that doesn’t necessarily matter. Much of the enjoyment of going to a big sporting venue is simply being there, being part of a moment in history and immersing yourself in an atmosphere of excitement.
If you go to a big horse race, you might see the start and the finish but the field may well disappear completely out of sight in the middle. That doesn’t matter a damn to the punters.
Same if you go to see a downhill ski race: you might catch a fleeting glimpse of each skier for a few seconds but little more, or see only the finish.
In both cases you’d see more detail if you stayed at home and watched on TV. But that’s not what being there is about.
I’m going to buy tickets for the mountain biking in Essex because a bunch of friends are going. I doubt I’ll see more than a few seconds of any rider, but I do expect to get a good impression of the difficulty and skill, and I’m sure I’ll have a fun day out with my pals the mud bunch.
If I want to see it in fine detail, there will be big screens just as there will be in Weymouth. But I think the main attraction is simply that it is the Olympics. I would never normally go to an MTB event yet there’s perverse attraction to all the hoopla.
So if you’re minded to buy a ticket to watch the sailing Olympics in Weymouth, go ahead and don’t listen to the cynics. For anyone in the UK, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a part of the action so close to home.
I think that if you just sit on the beach or up on the hills and watch without any of the commentary or razzmatazz – or even a guaranteed view – you’ll regret it, you’ll probably get stuck in a long traffic jam afterwards for no good reason and possibly wish you’d stayed at home for the better view on the telly.