by Gary Anderson
April 1, 2014 (ISN) – Glasgow 2014 is set to follow the lead of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by charging the world’s press to access the internet during the Commonwealth Games with prices up to £265 ($440/€320) for photographers.
There will be a £95 ($158/€115) charge for wifi and a £70 ($116/€85) charge for access to the MyGamesINFO service, Glasgow 2014 has confirmed.
The move has led to criticism from the President of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) Gianni Merlo, who has accused Glasgow 2014 of “living in the past century” and “not in-line with the times” and has called for organizers to “rethink their decision”.
Merlo also led the protests prior to London 2012 when it was revealed that journalists had to pay for internet packages costing £90 ($143/€104) per month for bronze, £130 ($207/€150) for silver and £150 ($239/€173) for gold.
At the time, London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe defended the move by insisting basic wifi capabilities were not sufficient to deal with the volume of traffic at the Olympics and so high speed internet cables were installed at every venue work room and photo work room.
Glasgow 2014 organizers appear to have adopted the same approach to this year’s Commonwealth Games.
In a statement to insidethegames, a Glasgow 2014 spokesman explained that: “Glasgow 2014 provides a range of products and services to assist the media with their operations across multiple venues during the Games, from reliable and secure wireless internet access to high quality robust cabled services for the upload and transfer of large files and all inclusive of 24/7 technical support.
“The MyGamesINFO service, the official Games-time intranet system for accredited media, will also provide fast and reliable results and a huge range of information making it an essential tool for working media covering the event.
“With around 1,500 accredited journalists and photographers expected to cover the Commonwealth Games this summer, Glasgow 2014 is unable to provide the above services and support free of charge.
“However we have endeavored to keep costs to a minimum and believe the high quality of services on offer to the media are not only incredibly cost-effective, but a significantly more comprehensive service than seen at a Commonwealth Games before.”
Glasgow 2014 insist internet service for the Games will be supported by technology onsite and they are currently installing a robust and secure provision for the press at venues, some of which have no media ready service onsite.
With the reliance on fast and effective wifi and internet access greater now than ever, the need to ensure a high quality service is becoming one of the key factors for organizers of big multi-sport international events.
While there was no charge at Delhi 2010 online access was patchy at best while at Melbourne 2006 technology was not as advanced as now.
The Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games, admittedly the most expensive ever staged, were also the first in history to provide free internet access to all media and press, although an upgraded cable service was also available for an extra fee.