Ressell Beattie says of the Atlanta Olympics, "They lied to us horribly." He describes the early hype about the need to get tickets early. I don't know about Sydney but I know that the same kinds of deception were in evidence in Los Angeles in 1984.
I wonder if the seats won't be empty in the form of poor television ratings for the NBC record setting poor performance. Part of the problem, at least, seems to be NBC would rather cover those things that are easy to cover. This focus on what's easy treats us to hours of rowing coverage every day. Expanding coverage to more channels hasn't made the coverage any better. Instead the viewer is given more hours a day of the same thing that would be on a single channel. When it comes to events that are more difficult to cover, like equestrian eventing, viewers are limited to a few seconds of nationalistic coverage. Almost as much time was devoted to riders saying "hi mom" as it was to the total time spent actually showing the dressage portion of eventing.
On another note I wonder if we aren't seeing the decline of the Olympics. At one time the world came together every few years for a world meeting. Now days there are far more frequent meetings and a connected world is more a part of these meetings. In the era of instant global communications other meetings have taken on greater meaning. For example few would question that Lance Armstrong is unrivaled in being deemed the champion of road racing, having just destroyed another Tour De France group a record-setting sixth time, is considered no less a cyclist being absent from the Olympics. The races at the Olympics are somehow less meaningful knowing that the greatest cyclist in the sport today is absent.