Jeremy Hunt has always struck me as a man too busy taking down the BBC to even notice that London is staging the Olympics in 2012. So seeing him wade into the debate around the Resale website for tickets was something of a surprise.
His intervention of course does no help for LOCOG's official partner for ticketing.
It's not clear how much influence Ticketmaster have had on the overall ticketing strategy implemented for London 2012. The first-round ballot posed more intrinsic questions rather than ones of technology - the feelings around the outcome have tended to be more emotional than factual. The second round - which was a first-come, first-served affair, was a classic case of demand taking down the system. This is not a problem exclusive to the London Olympics. Talk to Take That fans who tried to get tickets for the Progress tour in 2010/11 - or annual Glastonbury festival-goers. Excessive demand, spiked at a certain period nearly always brings down systems. Ask anyone in IT administration, and they will tell you.
First-come, first-served always works best when demand can be staggered at manageable levels. When people are seeking precious tickets for the foremost sporting event in the world, some difficulty is to be expected. To the uninitiated, it should just work. But there is always more to it than that. The capitulation of the Resale site suggested that Ticketmaster didn't resource the event appropriately - and you could understand why. The window offered was for a month, and indications suggested reseller numbers would be low. But as the old adage goes 'fail to prepare - prepare to fail', and they clearly didn't count on a large number of resellers placing tickets back into the system and a very savvy buyer market keen to seize what they could.
The feeling among many ticket hunters is why has it been so painful? From the ballot process in round one, to the technology issues experienced in round two - and now Resale. The experience has forced many to look abroad to secure tickets for the Games. Ticket failures is not an alien subject for the Olympic Games - from Beijing to Sydney, the organising committees have had problems. Advocates playing devil will point and scream 'why haven't we learnt!?' - but look at the British public as stakeholder groups to see the problems.
You have local residents of Newham who feel they deserve entitlement, likewise those who are part of sports clubs and associations across the country. Then all those people who like to say 'I'm a taxpayer...'; then there are fans of individual sports, fans of the Olympic Games and fans of London staging a premier event in world class stadia. Not forgetting those who have disposable income who can afford to buy, and those operating at the opposite scale. And of course, those dirty, rotten sponsors who of course contribute no money to the organising and operation of the Games but somehow end up with all the plum tickets - for 'free'!
No one - no expert, no newspaper, no independent group has dared offered an alternative solution as to how the tickets for London 2012 should have been sold - and by a solution, one that would placate all the stakeholder groups above. And ensure an even spread amongst them all.
The reason for this, of course, is that it's not possible. And the emotive nature of having, and not having will inform most of the arguments around ticketing right the way through to July 27.
Different events offer different ticketing systems - some focus on spread, others focus on demand - some try to balance between the two. LOCOG, of course, have the ultimate responsibility so are liable for the ultimate hit - but they haven't done as badly as most may think. And they cannot control how their suppliers operate and execute their operations.
Ticketmaster may in turn point to the fact that, unlike a lot of their daily activity, they are not profiting from sales in the way they would from a common concert ticket transaction - and this from an end-user perspective is true. Had there been licence for booking and admin 'fees', who knows what enhanced operations they could offer - though we all know how it would have been received.
A not improbable result of all of this will see dear Jezza frame Ticketmaster and the BBC in some sort of collusion.
Follow Sri Sritharan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/sris22