See the update below ...
Watching the Olympics on TV and wondering where the fans are? You're not alone. Organizers are looking into why the stands at many supposedly sold out events were nearly bare on the opening day of competition.
Ticket sales have been under the microscope lately, with reported dips that prompted possible price cuts in an effort to fill venues. Still, with more than two million tickets sold in the past two months, venues hosting swimming, soccer and other popular events were not supposed to be that empty.
What's really behind the seat situation? Some speculate it's the same thing that happens at many major sporting events: There's announced attendance (the number of tickets sold) compared to actual people in the seats. Anyone who's been the Mariners game, for example, can vouch that 24,000 announced is a far cry from the 9,000 bodies actually at Safeco Field.
"Blame a mix of prime tickets that go unused by corporate sponsors, international sports federations and rights holders," wrote Bruce Orwell in the Wall Street Journal. "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."
Day two has seen fewer empty seats on TV here in the UK. But reports on Twitter show there may still be an issue. Event goers are posting images, proclaiming attendance "disgraceful" at events such as gymnastics, badminton and more.
Corporate sponsors, who hold their fair share of tickets, have been quick to crank up their PR departments in order to deny being responsible for the no-shows.
James Pearce of the BBC reports statements have streamed in from McDonald's, Coca-Cola and others. "All deny leaving empty seats at venues," he tweeted, asking, "So whose seats are they?"
Update from the AP:
Troops, teachers and students are getting free tickets to fill prime seats that were empty at some Olympic venues on the first full day of competition.
Organizing chief Sebastian Coe answered widespread criticism Sunday by predicting that seats left unused, largely by Olympic and sports officials, will not be an issue as the games proceed.
''It is obvious, some of those seats are not being used in the early rounds,'' he said at a briefing.