Scramble for last minute tickets

London, 15 August 2012 - The Olympic torch may have been extinguished in the stadium but the spirit of The Games continues to grip Brits as they scrambled to buy last minute tickets for the Olympics and purchase Paralympic tickets ahead of the next phase of the Olympiad, due to commence on 29th August.

During week commencing 6th August, Brits increased their spending on tickets on their Visa cards by 117.8%, up from £21.3m in 2011 to £46.4m in 2012, such is the desire to be a part of London 2012. LOCOG has confirmed that 2.1m of the 2.5m tickets available for the Paralympics have been sold, with 600,000 purchased in the last month alone.

The Games’ feel good factor appears to have extended to consumer spending, with Brits increasing spending on going out and sporting goods as Olympic excitement swept the nation. Spending on Visa cards at restaurants in the UK was up from £162.5m in 2011 to £191m in 2012, a rise of 20.6%, whilst spending on Visa cards at bars and clubs was up 17.5%, from £48m in 2011 to £58m in 2012. Similarly, spending on Visa cards on sporting goods was up from £43m in 2011 to £62m in 2012, a year on year rise of 46.5%.

Despite the late nights, visitors are still making time for sightseeing and card spending on attractions and exhibitions was up 12% to £2.3million.

Read all the weekly Spending stats

Commenting on the findings, Dr. Steve Perry, Commercial Director at Visa Europe said:

“These were The Games that people just did not want to end! The rush for tickets by Brits over the past week shows how much they wanted to be a part of The Games, with spending on tickets rising 117.8%. This scramble for tickets bodes well for the Paralympics, as the excitement and interest looks set to continue well into September. With spending also looking healthier on the high street last week, hopes for an Indian summer abound.”

Visa at The Games

Visa has been a global sponsor of the Olympic Games since 1986 and the Paralympic Games since 2002 and celebrated its 25th anniversary as a global sponsor last year. Visa implements and manages the entire payment infrastructure at every Games Time venue. London 2012 will be the first Olympic Games where visitors can choose not to pay with cash but instead to make contactless payments with either their contactless card or a suitable NFC-enabled mobile phone.

About Visa Europe

In Europe, there are 445 million Visa debit, credit and commercial cards. In the 12 months ending September 2011 those cards were used to make purchases and cash withdrawals to the value of €1.7 trillion. 14% of consumer spending at point of sale in Europe is with a Visa card, and almost 80% of that is on Visa debit cards.

Visa Europe is owned and operated by more than 3,700 European members and was incorporated in July 2004. Visa Europe is independent of global Visa Inc., with an exclusive, irrevocable and perpetual licence in Europe, while both companies operate to ensure global interoperability. As a dedicated European payment system Visa Europe is able to respond quickly to the specific market needs of European banks and their customers - cardholders and retailers - and to meet the European Commission’s objective to create a true internal market for payments.

Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world. In addition, Visa/PLUS is one of the world’s largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in over 200 countries.

For more information, visit http://www.visaeurope.com/