* London 2012 hospitality company sells 30-40 pct of its
* Economic worries create "challenging" conditions for
* Construction and energy firms join finance groups in
By Peter Griffiths
LONDON, Oct 5 Around two-thirds of the most
expensive corporate hospitality packages for the 2012 London
Olympics have yet to be sold, although organisers said on
Wednesday they were confident of finding buyers for the rest
despite the gloomy economic outlook.
Prestige Ticketing Ltd, the company with sole corporate
hospitality rights inside the Olympic venues, said it had sold
30-40 percent of its allocation, with strong demand for the
tennis, diving and equestrian events.
Luxury hospitality deals cost up to 4,500 pounds ($6,933) a
head for a day, including top-tier tickets, wine and meals in a
three-storey pavilion being built next to the main stadium in
"Whilst the economic climate is challenging, we have to work
that bit harder and not rely on the banking and financial
sectors which are traditionally very strong in hospitality,"
Alan Gilpin, Prestige's chief operating officer, told a news
conference with less than 300 days to go before the Games begin.
Traditional customers in finance and advertising have been
joined by companies in sectors like construction, energy and
mining, he added. Prestige said the first event where it sold
out its allocation was the women's hockey final.
The company, a joint venture between French catering group
Sodexo and British hospitality firm Mike Burton Group, is
selling 120,000 tickets for the Olympics and the Paralympics,
less than 1 percent of the total. The Games' organisers have
appointed two other companies to sell hospitality deals, Thomas
Cook and Jet Set Sports.
Many Britons were left disappointed after failing to secure
tickets for the Games. With their high price tag, hospitality
deals are the only way to guarantee a place at the most popular
Prestige's marketing director Tony Barnard said it would
"certainly" sell all of its packages for the main Olympics site
in east London.
It is building a hospitality pavilion with a 3,000 capacity,
costing 7.5 million pounds, less than 100 metres (yards) from
the Olympics stadium. It is banking on hard-pressed companies
using the Games to try to drum up more business from potential
Professor Simon Chadwick, director of the Centre for the
International Business of Sport at Coventry University, central
England, who has conducted research for Prestige, said the
downturn had affected hospitality firms in recent years, but the
Games' special cachet would probably give them a boost.
"The corporate hospitality industry has hit a number of
challenges in the last three or four years, particularly in
light of the economic downturn," Chadwick told a news
"But I think the Olympic Games is exceptional...and has the
strength to transcend prevailing economic conditions."
($1 = 0.649 British Pounds)
(Editing by Justin Palmer)