Three of the UK’s key exhibition venues have paid tribute to the success of the London 2012 Olympic Games by highlighting the number of visitors through their doors during the competition.
Excel London welcomed record crowds of more than one million people during the 16-day Olympics programme on 29 July-12 August, which saw seven sports staged at the venue: Fencing, boxing, judo, table tennis, wrestling, weightlifting and taekwondo. The busiest day at the site was 30 July, when 70,000 visitors came through the doors.
“London 2012 has been the best attended games in history, and I think we showcased to the global audience exactly why it is the best city to host anevent,” Excel MD David Pegler said. “Our position in the International Congress Convention Association worldwide city rankings is testament to this. We have gone from 19th place fouryears ago to seventh last year. The Olympics boost will further strengthen London’s position as a world-leading events destination.”
In all, 246 medals were awarded during the competition at Excel, while 320,000 journeys took place on the new Emirates Cable Car connecting Excel and The O2. Celebrities spotted at the venue during the games included prime minister David Cameron, Sir Paul McCartney, Bill Gates, the Duchess of Cambridge, Sir Steve Redgrave and Prince Albert of Monaco.
Pegler also pointed to the success of public transport to Excel during the Olympics. The DLR for example, carried 500,000 passengers on 3 August, 70 per cent more than normal levels, and 130 per cent more passengers than on its busiest days, ordinarily.
Excel London is now gearing up to host six sports events during the Paralympic Games from 29 August to 9 September.
Earls Court welcomed more than 500,000 visitors to the site to watch the volleyball competition. The figure represents 35 per cent of its average annual attendance. In all, 76 matches were played at Earls Court across 42 sessions, each with a crowd of more than 12,000 people.
“The 16-day Olympic volleyball competition has been several years in the planning and Earls Court has been delighted to contribute to what has been the greatest Olympic Games of our generation,” said group halls director at Earls Court and Olympia Venues (EC&O Venues) Rachel Parker.
“The logistics involved in hosting such a momentous event on the world stage has required meticulous planning and partnership with the London 2012 team.”
Earls Court’s future as an events venue is coming closer to end however, with the site’s redevelopment masterplan expected to get the greenlight at the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham Council planning committee on 12 September.
It wasn’t just London that benefitted from the games either. Ricoh Arena in Coventry, which hosted the Olympic Football Tournament, said nearly 190,000 tickets were sold for a dozen matches at the venue, which included four days of double-header games.
Venue director Laurie Dalrymple said it was amazing the venue had transformed itself from a disused gasworks site to an Olympic venue in seven years.
“Everything was planned with military precision behind-the-scenes in the ticketing office and the kitchens for our 5,000 hospitality guests in eight days,” he continued. “The flexibility of the Ricoh Arena has always been one of our key selling points and we used all event space across our 80 rooms.
“We are proud to have played a part in such a wonderful Olympic games as well as raising the profile of the city to a national and international audience, and there is no doubt the lasting legacy will be felt in the city in the coming weeks as well as future years.”
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