Journalists hoping to provide readers with basic preview information on the eve of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow are being forced to pay for it by the organisers.
Simple details such as competition timetables and athlete entries are hidden in the official GamesINFO system, which is free to access on monitors at Games venues but costs £70 plus VAT for remote access.
This follows the controversy surrounding wi-fi charges at the Games, where an outcry from journalists led to organisers at Glasgow 2014 cutting the prices and offering free access for a number of cash-strapped media organisations.
For press who write their previews for the Games before arriving in Glasgow, though, the charge for GamesINFO – or myGamesINFO as it is called for those who pay to access it direct on their computers – could come as a shock.
In addition to competition schedules and entries, GamesINFO includes biographies, historical results, transportation details, weather reports and, during the Games, results and athlete quotes.
For athletics at the Games, for example, a rough competition schedule has been available to the public for some time, but it only lists what events take place during particular sessions.
Journalists are not the only people frustrated by the lack of free information from the organisers. Tour companies – who have sold many thousands of tickets and hotel rooms – have been struggling to give fans travelling with them to the Games the timetable information that they routinely access with ease.
One publication affected is Athletics Weekly. Jason Henderson, the editor, said: “I was shocked when Glasgow 2014 told me that I had to pay £84 just to see a track and field timetable. We usually run the timetable – which is the most basic piece of information – in our preview issue for the Games, but I was directed toward the rate card team and encouraged to sign up to myGamesINFO.”
Henderson, who has covered the Commonwealth Games since 1998, added: “Athletics Weekly has survived since 1945 by running a tight ship. It’s already expensive just to stay in Glasgow during the Games, so additional charges like this for previously free and easy-to-access information is a kick in the teeth.”
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