Free or cheap tickets should be available for children or local sporting clubs, to help fill seats
Giving tickets to local sports clubs by default is the same as giving tickets to the clubs organisers and their friends. If you're not an "in" member of the club you will never see any of these tickets. I speak from direct experience unfortunately.
Giving to local schools and kids is a great idea.
How about having a last-minute ticket lottery for empty seats, where invitations are sent via SMS to invite the winner to come and partake. They could respond by SMS, pay a smaller ticket price and if they subsequently no show they lose future draw chances.
There's nothing worse than the UK paying £9B for the Olympics and having empty seats, that would be a travesty in today's recession.
"Largely agree with the other comments. Provide discounted (or free) tickets to sports clubs in those fields and local schools. Also worth considering for events where people may leave early is doing ticketing in a similar way to Wimbledon - if someone leaves for the day, then allow someone else to take their seat for a fiver/tenner or whatever depending on how much of the day is left."
"Sell tickets to less popular events for £5-10. Give away blocks of tickets for the really unpopular events to Londoners - local schools, clubs as well as the general public.
On the day offer tickets for under a fiver to whatever events need filling up. I think a lot of people will just want to go for the experience and will not be too fussed about what they end up seeing. Maybe you could sell an 'Olympic travel card' which would allow entry to any event if there are any spare seats going."
"give extra tickets to local sporting associations/local schools. If there are tickets left they were too expensive in the first place or the location was poorly chosen."
Paul Baker suggested:
"Surely people that participate in the so called 'minority sports' would be interested in seeing their favoured event in the Olympics. Providing tickets are maintained at the promised £20 / £30 level, there should be no need to give away tickets. But local schools should have the opportunity to get free tickets if there are any unsold say 6 weeks before the event."
"Give away tickets to local people and schools if tickets don't sell out. Or have an LCD board in the Olympic park saying what events on that day there are still tickets to see."
"Don't host the olympics. There will obviously be empty seats because most of the sports are unpopular, but the ridiculous cost of hosting the games means tickets will be expensive. A policy of allowing school trips in for free will help. But its not something you can solve entirely, and nor should you try."
"What's the point bringing in busloads of schoolkids to watch countries they've never heard of play unpopular sports. Might look better on tv but it will do nothing to inspire the kids to take up sport. Maybe only if they saw a sport they could do themselves like running or football."