The first day of the last phase of ticket sales for the World Cup has resulted in chaos, with queues at sales points, one soccer fan dying of a heart attack in the queue, and the FNB system being off-line.
More than 500 000 World Cup match tickets are available for sale from today, which means that tickets could become available for matches previously designated as having been sold (in Cape Town, for example, all matches are supposed to have been sold out, but tickets for all matches now appear to be available).
It appears that the ticket availability comes from a number of different sources.
First, many sponsors bought blocks of tickets, as did the World Cup teams’ football associations, which they have not all been able to sell. The Cape Times quotes the Daily Mirror in reporting that 69 % of the more than 550 000 sponsors’ tickets have been returned, as they cannot find takers for them. Sponsors Adidas, Coca Cola, Hyundai, Sony, Emirates, Visa and twelve others had the right to buy blocks of tickets, to give away in promotions, or to staff and clients. Similarly 58 % of the 570 000 tickets allocated to fans of the 32 participating teams have been sold, and the balance has been returned.
MATCH, the FIFA hospitality agency, had been allocated 380 000 tickets to package into VIP hospitality packages, and could only manage to sell 1 000 of these! SAA would have been used to fly the VIP guests around the country, and cancelled 45 000 seats which MATCH had booked when the number of seats booked by MATCH kept changing. MATCH is blaming the poor sales record on the world recession, and on the distance of South Africa from the participating countries.
Second, greedy and opportunistic “speculators” bought tickets, with the aim of reselling them, at a profit one would assume, and have now discovered, even though it was clearly stipulated during the purchase process, that one cannot resell them, as the ID number of the ticket purchasers are printed on the tickets. This means that sellers of tickets cannot even give them away for free!
FIFA launches its last ticket sales drive today, when it opens sales outlets in major host cities, as well as some Shoprite Checkers stores (from 19 April), to encourage sales of the remaining tickets. The Cape Town outlet is in The Spearhead, at Hans Strydom Avenue, in the building in which Col’Cacchio is located, close to Investec. The FIFA retail sales outlets will be open from 9h00 – 18h00 for ticket purchases by South Africans, and from 18h00 – 22h00 for ticket purchases by international soccer fans. These centers will also accept tickets for resale, and will be the ticket collection center for tickets booked on the internet.
Tickets will also be for sale at branches of FNB.
FIFA’s Secretary General Jerome Valcke said in Soweto last week that the South African stadiums should be full. “We will work hard to get South Africans and international people to come to the stadiums” he said, reports Bizcommunity.com.
Of the 2,2 million tickets sold to date, South Africans have bought just under 1 million (42%) tickets, followed by the United States (about 120 000), the United Kingdom (68000), Germany (32 000), Australia (30 000) and Canada (16 000).
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com