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London 2012 Olympics: Empty Seats At Events Prompts Investigation

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LONDON 2012 EMPTY SEATS
Empty seats are seen in the lower and upper bowls at a London 2012 volleyball match on July 29, 2012. | Getty Images

These are some of the hottest tickets in London, and yet, empty seats have been seen for dozens of events thus far at Olympic venues.

The scene is coming under increased scrutiny in the British media and among locals, particularly on Twitter, and a formal investigation has been launched by the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (Locog).

A Locog spokesman told the BBC: "Where there are empty seats, we will look at who should have been sitting in the seats, and why they did not attend," adding that early indications are that empty seats are in accredited seating areas for press and media.

Officials have said that the venues are sold out, adding to the confusion.

Among the events with empty seats? Last night's men's 400 IM final which involved Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps.

Sports Illustrated's Tim Layden noted on Twitter: "A little over 7 minutes to Phelps-Lochte and there are plenty of empty seats in the London Aquatics Center. Plenty."

Kevin Affleck, an editor at The Nation, added: "Stunned at empty seats for Phelps v Lochte at #olympics. Would love to have been there."

The issue did not alleviate this morning, Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games:

The London Evening Standard's Peter Dominiczak shared his take on the ongoing issue:

The Daily Mail columnist Dan Wootton was even more harsh.

The Wall Street Journal's Bruce Orwall offered his take on the situation:

How did that happen? Blame a mix of prime tickets that go unused by corporate sponsors, international sports federations and rights holders. Adding to the unfortunate visuals: bored media who stay away in droves for preliminary competitions in some sports. It's a common Olympics phenomenon, especially early in the Games when medals aren't yet on the line.

Orwall adds that even some of the athletes have become frustrated, citing a tweet from Indian tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi: "Been trying for 6 hours now to buy my wife a ticket to watch me play tomorrow. Still no luck, and the grounds here feel empty. ABSURD!!!"

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt told The Guardian the empty seat problem is being looked at "urgently," noting "if they're not going to turn up, we want those tickets to be available for members of the public, because that creates the best atmosphere."

HuffPost UK readers have been sharing their opinions as well, with one fan calling the empty seats "a disgrace."

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