Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Olympics boost to the economy? So why are tickets being manufactured in the US?

The London 2012 Olympics are almost upon us.

It would be fair to say that opinion over the games is fairly divided, between those that can’t wait, and those that wish we’d never been awarded the games.

I fall into the excited camp. I think that the games are a good thing for the UK. This is the only time in my lifetime that the Olympics will ever be held in my country, and love them or loathe them, high profile sporting events do create a positive and excited atmosphere.

But one of the positive things about the Olympics is that often these events do create jobs and opportunities to add to the economy. After all, stadiums have to be built, advertising has to be done, tickets have to be sold... and printed... and here’s where my problem lies.

Yesterday it emerged that the contract for printing the Olympic tickets has been given to Weldon, Williams & Lick, a company based in Arkansas in the US.

The US? Why not the UK? The tickets will be printed in America, so no job creation here then, packed up and flown thousands of miles to the UK, so apparently this is not a green exercise either. And then they will be distributed to the individuals who have been fortunate enough to buy them, at a cost of £6 per ticket. £6? So presumably if you’re fortunate enough to have tickets, not only are you paying for the tickets, but you’re also paying their air fare to get here from the states.

Naturally UK companies are outraged that this contract has been awarded to a company in the US. And really, why shouldn’t they be? Some have even speculated that UK companies weren’t even given a chance to pitch for the contract. Obviously we have no idea about that, but it seems a little unbelievable that a US company was that much more competitive that it is actually more financially viable to have the tickets manufactured several thousand miles away and flown here before being distributed.

But this isn’t the first row over contracts which one might have assumed would be in the UK. It appears that 90% of souvenirs will also be manufactured abroad.

So – where are these jobs that are being created by the games? Oh, that’s right, it appears that we’re paying for the games, and much of the benefit to the economy has been outsourced to other countries.

I’m all for a free market, but really, this is a one off event. An event that many people are unhappy about particularly given the current economic climate, and the amount of money that is being ploughed into hosting them. I really don’t think that it’s unreasonable to think that it should be the UK economy benefitting from these games, and not businesses abroad.


  1. I'm pretty appaled by that actually. The whole idea of the Olympics is to boost the economy all the while creating something positive for the country.

    I wish Paris had won the bid (but I live in France) and you can guarantee the French wouldn't outsource things like that to the US.

  2. That is utterly crazy from an ecological, economic and plain common sense perspective.

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