The ticket website for the London 2012 Olympics struggled to cope with the demand after the window for the second round of sales opened at 6am on Friday.
Many people who had risen early to try to beat the rush endured the frustration of their online applications failing to go through. Instead they were directed to a webpage saying: “We are experiencing high demand. You will be automatically directed to the page requested as soon as it becomes available. Thank you for your patience.”
Even some who got to the stage of requesting tickets and providing their bank card details were then told: “Sorry we cannot process your request please try again later.” A London 2012 spokeswoman said: “The system is working, it has not crashed. Due to high demand some people are being held outside the system.”
They added: “For those in the system it is working and transactions are going through, but we are having to hold some people back from going through the site due to high demand.”
Sports fans hoping to secure tickets from 6am were urged to “remain patient” when applying. A statement on the official website said organisers were expecting “a lot of people” to sign in.
Fans were told not to refresh their browser if they were greeted with a message about “high demand” while applying. “Please just remain patient and we will process your request as soon as we can,” the statement said.
Jacqueline Burke, who is hoping to buy tickets for her family, experienced frustration with the website on Friday morning.
She told BBC Breakfast: “We thought were were doing really well at 6 o’clock because we were able to pick the three events we wanted. But unfortunately having pressed ‘submit to pay’ it’s come back as ‘Sorry, we are unable to process your application’.”
However, Ms Burke’s application was later reported to have been submitted successfully. Another pleased fan, Emily Hughes, managed to submit an application for two sets of tickets to watch synchronised swimming.
Miss Hughes, 37, said: “I managed to get the application through in about 40 minutes. At every stage it said the session hadn’t been processed or had timed out, but I kept going back and doing it again and it eventually went through. I’m thrilled.”