Bafana Bafana v Norway International at Cape Town Stadium a failed tourism AFCON 2013 consolation prize for Cape Town!

Last night visiting soccer team Norway beat our national team Bafana Bafana 1-0, played in an International at Cape Town Stadium.  Billed as a consolation prize for the fact that Cape Town did not make the AFCON 2013 host city bid, the event last night made no contribution to attracting tourists to Cape Town at all!  The match was seen as a warm-up match for Bafana Bafana’s participation in AFCON 2013, which starts in ten days.

One wonders how the City of Cape Town can allocate millions of Rands of ratepayers’ monies to its newly created Tourism, Events, and Marketing Directorate, led by its Executive Director Anton Groenewald and reporting to Mayoral Committee member Grant Pascoe, when they are so poor at handling any marketing of Cape Town and the organisation of events in the Mother City!  The department is under pressure to earn revenue from its biggest (loss-making) asset, being the Cape Town Stadium.  It was odd then that yesterday one could read on Facebook and Twitter about the frustrations last minute ticket purchasers experienced at Computicket, only single seats being available yesterday morning, even though the full allocation of 40000 seats for the match had not yet been sold.  A new release of tickets was promised by the City, but did not appear to have been made.  On Monday morning the City was using the local radio stations to market the event, it being claimed that only 8000 tickets had been sold.  One also read on Twitter that tickets could only be bought at Computicket, and were not available at the stadium itself, which appears to be a marketing weakness too!  Last week the City placed print ads such as the one in this blogpost in the local newspapers, to encourage ticket sales, clearly a home-made design job!

The City’s media statement quoted Groenewald as saying that ‘the match is a sign of its commitment and and continuous support for Bafana Bafana‘, despite the soccer team only having played in Cape Town for the second time in three years!

Even though the City has seen it in the past, when Manchester United played Ajax Cape Town last winter, soccer matches do not attract out of town visitors to Cape Town. The same was the case yesterday, for two reasons. The soccer matches are supported by local Capetonians, and the support clearly is not attractive enough yet for Western Cape residents to drive from other cities and towns to see the match, especially as the starting time of 20h30 was so late.  Even more so this starting time would have necessitated accommodation for out-of-town soccer fans, but we did not see any enquiries or bookings for the soccer match.  In addition, Cape Town is still bursting at its tourism seams, and so if there had been a tourism requirement, there would not have been any space for them to be accommodated in a suburb such as Camps Bay!   One wonders why the City chose a date for the match at a time when Cape Town did not need any additional visitors!

Had the Cape Town Stadium been full tonight, with all 40000 seats sold at an average price of R75 (ticket prices were R100 and R50), the total revenue would only have been R3 million, which would not have covered the costs.  We know that the City buses in soccer fans for free in the last minute to save face, that Computicket would have charged the City of Cape Town a fee per ticket sold, that not all tickets will have been sold, and that more cheaper tickets will have been sold, meaning that the real income may have been closer to R1,5 million income, hardly worth the effort in terms of costs relative to income.  The match also damaged the image of the City of Cape Town, in reflecting its inability to organise and market events!

It was the City of Cape Town and its Councillor Grant Pascoe that have cost Cape Town, and with it its tourism industry as well as soccer lovers, a vast income which Cape Town would have earned had it been selected as a Host City for AFCON 2013, which kicks off on 19 January, and runs over three weeks. South Africa was awarded the African soccer games when FIFA cancelled Libya as the host country due to political turmoil.  The City of Cape Town owes the tourism and hospitality industry lost income!

POSTSCRIPT 9/1: The following comment about the ticket sales by the City of Cape Town was posted to this blogpost today: “I’m afraid it gets worse. The inside track has it that due to slow ticket sales days before, they utilised their own infrastructure to sell tickets, with the MyCiti kiosks etc. And of course, when they were deluged with last-minute sales, they had to re-load all those tickets on computicket, at a 1000 tickets per time. Which was a huge disadvantage to all those queue-ing as those tickets were snapped up online within minutes of their being loaded onto the system. Hence the estimate of 10 000 turned away at Computicket due to tickets being “sold out” Groenewald sheepishly claimed they didn’t take into consideration that Capetonians buy tickets at the last minute! Oy va voi!”

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

8 replies on “Bafana Bafana v Norway International at Cape Town Stadium a failed tourism AFCON 2013 consolation prize for Cape Town!”

  1. Mary Nagle says:

    I would just like to say that the food and beverage offering was dismal. Beer ran out at half time and not even a cold drink could be had. One of group arrived at the stadium having not eaten and hoped to pick up something there, but the queues on arrival were about 40 minutes long. Overall, though the stadium is stunning they did not put on a engaging night out, which is such a pity. The drumming and the fire dancing on the fanwalk were fantastic though.

  2. Thank you for your feedback Mary.

    The food and drinks offer has been consistently poor at the stadium. Good to hear about the Fanwalk being great.

    Chris

  3. Anon says:

    I’m afraid it gets worse. The inside track has it that due to slow ticket sales days before, they utilised their own infrastructure to sell tickets, with the MyCiti kiosks etc. And of course, when they were deluged with last-minute sales, they had to re-load all those tickets on computicket, at a 1000 tickets per time. Which was a huge disadvantage to all those queue-ing as those tickets were snapped up online within minutes of their being loaded onto the system. Hence the estimate of 10 000 turned away at Computicket due to tickets being “sold out” Groenewald sheepishly claimed they didn’t take into consideration that Capetonians buy tickets at the last minute! Oy va voi!

  4. ryan says:

    did anyone really think an entire host of norwegians would show up from overseas to watch the game?

    that 30000 odd locals turned out is nontheless a very nice surprise on a tuesday night in going back to school week.

    saturday afternoon I’m sure would have put the crowd at closer to 40000.

    south africas location will always put it at a disadvantage when attracting international tourists for a one off event. It’s not as if you jump on the eurostar across the ditch in an hour with no required visa,expenses,etc.

    Anyway, events like these i see as part of the greater picture in advertising CT with the real goal of securing a Formula 1 berth. That is an entirely different kettle of fish and would without a doubt bring more international visitors into the wc. Hopefully in an autumn month possibly May, winter wouldn’t work as it could produce a consistantly poor spectacle because of the weather causing CT to lose F1 status.

    that’s what I think anyway. F1 is the real sporting event goal.

  5. Thanks for your input Ryan from Ryan’s Kitchen.

    I wasn’t referring to international tourists but rather other Western Cape residents who might have stayed over for the night, but then there was no accommodation available on the Atlantic Seaboard anyway.

    Johannesburgers didn’t come to Cape Town for the game, because they will see Bafana Bafana play in the AFCON 2013 up north anyway.

    Chris

  6. Thank you for the interesting ticket sale feedback Anon.

    I have added it as a Postscript to this blogpost.

    Chris

  7. ryan says:

    the timing of the game has more to do with bafana bafana preparation for afcon than planning by ct tourism.

  8. No Ryan from Ryan’s Kitchen!

    This match was meant to be a consolation prize sweetener to Cape Town, for the City of Cape Town costing us the bid to be a Host City for AFCON 2013, meaning that your restaurant tables and my beds remain empty! For it to have worked, we needed to attract visitors to Cape Town – no visitors came!

    Chris

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