The London 2012 Olympic Games Case Study

Topics: Summer Olympic Games, Olympic Games, 2008 Summer Olympics Pages: 62 (7410 words) Published: May 15, 2015
9-510-039
REV: FEBRUARY 4, 2011

JOHN T. GOURVILLE
MARCO BERTINI

The Lond
don 2012 Olym
mpic Gaames
Paaul Williamso
on could not help
h
but be am
mazed. As hee looked dow
wn from the 233rd-floor offices of
the Lo
ondon Organ
nizing Commiittee of the Ollympic Gamees (LOCOG), he
h could see all
a of East Lon
ndon,
one of the poorest areas in Greaater London. Historically
H
a working-claass neighborh
hood and indu
ustrial
centerr, East Londo
on had been bombed
b
heav
vily during World
W
War II and had never fully recov
vered.
Yet, as
a if rising fro
om the ashes,, the Olympicc Park was beeginning to taake shape. In n three short years,
y
Londo
on would pla
ay host to th
he 2012 Gamees and the Olympic Park would be itss crown jeweel (see Exhib
bit 1 for a ma
ap of London
n and the locaation of the Olympic
O
Park
k). And if all went accordiing to
plan, the sporting venues, houssing, transporrtation links, and a parks built to supportt the Games would
w
serve to revitalize the
t East Lond
don communiity.
o 2009, howeever, William
mson had mo
ore pressing issues
i
to con
nsider. As Heead of
In the spring of
Ticketting for the 2012 Games,, he and his team were responsible r
f developin
for
ng the policiees for
pricin
ng and distrib
buting the milllions of tickeets that would
d go on sale starting
s
in latee 2010. In a perfect
p
world
d, he knew, th
heir decisions would satisfy
y many criterria. First, giveen the importaance of ticketing to the Games’
G
bottom
m line, they had
h a strong incentive to maximize reevenues. Seco
ond, given thaat the
entiree world would be watchiing, they wan
nted to maxiimize attendance—not just at the Opening
Cerem
mony and sw
wimming finalls, which trad
ditionally werre easy sells, but
b also at ev
vents like han
ndball
and table
t
tennis, which weree not. Third
d, they wantted to fill seats
s
with th
he right peo
ople—
know
wledgeable fan
ns who added
d to the energ
gy and atmossphere of the event. Finally
y, tickets had
d to be
accesssible not only
y to the world
d’s elite but also
a
to averag
ge Londonerss, many of whom
w
lived arround
the co
orner from thee Olympic Paark.
Ass Williamson considered th
hese criteria, two commen
nts stuck in hiis mind. The first
f
came fro
om his
boss, Chris Townssend, the Com
mmercial Direector of the LO
OCOG. Town
nsend had saiid, “Missing either
our revenue
r
or our
o
attendancce target is simply unaccceptable.” The
T
second came
c
from Jo
oanna
Mann
ning-Cooper, Head of Pu
ublic Relation
ns and Mediaa, who had said, “We arre billing theese as
‘Every
ybody’s Gam
mes,’ which meeans the majo
ority of ticketss have to be at
a prices the public
p
can affo
ord.”
Th
he good newss was that Wiilliamson and
d his team haad time to develop their plans—tickets
p
were
not sccheduled to go
g on sale fo
or another 18 months. Thee bad news was
w that Olym
mpic ticketing
g had
proveen tricky in th
he past—with
h some host cities
c
at a losss to explain unsold
u
ticketss, empty seatss, and
frustrrated sports fans. As Town
nsend noted, “Ticketing reepresents abo
out 20% of an
n Olympic Games’
reven
nue, but 80% of
o its public reelations headaches.”
______________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________________ Professo
or John T. Gourvillle of Harvard Busiiness School and Professor Marco Bertini of London Bu usiness School prep
pared this case. Some data
have been simplified to aid in classroom discussion. HBS casess are developed so olely as the basis fo
or class discussion. Cases are not inteended to
urces of primary daata, or illustrations of effective or inefffective managemen nt.
serve ass endorsements, sou
ght © 2009, 2010, 20
011 President and Fellows
F
of Harvard
d College. To order copies or request permission
p
to repro
oduce...
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