The wide swaths of empty seats at prime events over the first few days of the London Olympics have ruffled feathers across Britain and even inspired a Twitter account called “The empty seat.”

The crowd at Sunday’s equestrian eventing dressage competition left something to be desired. (David Goldman – Associated Press)

In response to widespread criticism – namely from the throngs of locals who were denied tickets months ago – organizing chief Sebastian Coe announced that unused seats will be donated to troops and local students.

As great as the green seats at the All England Club and the colorful stands in the Olympic soccer venues look on television, providing an Olympic-style atmosphere has gone from afterthought to priority for London’s organizers.

“It is obvious, some of those seats are not being used in the early rounds so that’s where we put the military in there,” Coe told the Associated Press on Sunday. “That’s why we have students and teachers in there.”

Major sponsors Coca-Cola and Visa said they used their allotted tickets, which totaled eight percent of the 8.8 million available.


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