Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Rio Olympics Irish ticket controversy: a theory

With the Irish media only now catching up to an angle of the Patrick Hickey situation aired on this blog last week, it might be worth postulating another angle.

It seems from the e-mail traffic revealed by the Rio police today that the Olympic Council of Ireland was in some sort of dispute with British counterparts about the marketing rights to tickets in Northern Ireland. As this Wikipedia article helpfully documents, there are still unresolved formalities about which Olympic association -- Irish or British -- represents Northern Ireland. Legally it has seemed clear that representation follows jurisdiction but there's been tension when that has gotten to the point of being written down.

Now the theory: was the Olympic Council of Ireland stepping on some big commercial toes with attempted marketing of tickets in Northern Ireland which the UK authorised reseller saw as a backdoor to the UK market? The UK reseller is CoSport which in turn is owned by Jet Set Sports. As a privately held company, it's not easy to figure out much about their activities, but their footprint is large (including in the USA).

Access to the Irish allocation of Olympic tickets would have been especially attractive if it could also be a way to chip away at the much larger UK market.

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