Want a Ticket to the Olympics? That'll Be £6 Postage Please -- From America

By Sam Gibbs on at

The London Olympics were supposed to provide UK firms with work — the British taxpayer has to foot the ginormous bill for these dubiously profitable games somehow, after all.Now it turns out that something seemingly as simple as printing tickets for the events has been outsourced to the US, and it’s going to cost you £6 in postage for the privilege. What. The. Hell?

The multi-million pound contract has been awarded by the London Olympics Organising Committee (Locog) to a printing firm based in Fort Smith, Arkansas, USA; totally side-lining the myriad of British printing firms that could have done the job locally.

The 11 million tickets weighing in at 16 tonnes will be printed up and shipped the 4,500 miles to Blighty in bulk by airfreight. That seems a hell of a lot of work for something we could have done in the UK, and it’s so typically British to snub our own firms for outsiders.

"The contract to print tickets was awarded following a thorough, competitive and open tender run through Compete For (tendering website),” said an Olympics spokesperson talking to the Evening Standard on the matter. But it turns out that UK printers might not have even been given the chance to bid on the contract. I know there's something to say for experience when dealing with these massive orders, but surely there must be companies big enough in the UK to deal with it properly. Maybe it came down to cost, but cost isn’t everything you know, and at least if we’re paying a British firm to do it we’re going to get some of that money back in tax.

Locog says that 95 per cent of the contracts for the games went to British companies. It just seems totally outrageous to ship something like this out to the US, or anywhere else other than Britain for that matter. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against America, but there’s no way any Olympics held in the US would farm something like this out to a non-US company, so why on Earth did we? [Evening Standard]

Image credit: Tickets from Shutterstock