Louis Basenese pointed out recently that although Olympic gold medals aren’t made of real gold, they can certainly fetch a hefty sum of cash. As he points out, “A gold medal worn by Mark Wells, a member of the 1980 ‘Miracle on Ice’ U.S. men’s hockey team, fetched $310,700 at an auction two years ago.”
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Well, based on the low sales experienced by London business, the UK’s sporting elite might have to pony up their medals just so the country can pay the bill once the games are over.
You see, the foot traffic local businesses thought they’d get from the Olympics crowd hasn’t arrived.
Tom Jenkins, CEO of the European Tour Operators Association, says, “Normally we have about 800,000 domestic visitors and a further 300,000 foreign visitors in London every day. At the moment we don’t have those people. What we have is about 500,000 to 600,000 Olympic spectators, but they’re all at Stratford… because they’re interested in sport. They’re interested in watching the games; they’re not coming here to shop, go to the restaurants, visit the theatres and go into the museums.”
Even London residents are staying at home. That’s because the government issued a warning to stay out of public areas to keep things moving smoothly during the games. But as Nica Burns, CEO of Nimax Theatres, says, “I think they advised the London population far too strongly. We’ve been told and continued to be told to stay out of the transport system because they were anxious everyone would be unable to travel at peak times.”
Now, London’s businesses are suffering. Not good when the UK is already facing tough economic headwinds.