Over One Million World Cup Tickets Unsold

Official 2010 FIFA World Cup match ball
Image by mikkelz via Flickr

The South African World Cup organisers have announced that in excess of One Million tickets (some estimates are as high as 1.2 Million) for the 2010 tournament went unsold, largely thanks to the returns by sponsors and VIP supporters. Given there were only 2.9 million tickets in total this is a shocking result. FIFA again in their wisdom are refusing to comment on the number, but anyone who watched the games on TV will have seen the masses of empty seats. This is a terrible waste of potential revenue and must be galling for many genuine football fans who were either priced out of the games or couldn’t get a ticket when they applied. Fortunately FIFA have decided to change their ticket allocation structure for the 2014 final in Brazil which will hopefully avoid a similar farce.

Amongst the worst culprits were the sponsors who included Addidas who not content with inflicting their awful Jabulani on us also contributed to the 360,000 sponsor tickets returned. Not a stunning indictment of their enthusiasm for watching games played with their supposed wonder ball.

Other culprits included Manchester based Match Hospitality with 240,000 returns and official tour operators who only managed 144,000 sales from 344,000 ordered.

Possibly most surprising was the poor take up by the 31 non host competing countries who would have been expected to snap up their allocations.  Here the figures were an almost unbelievable 31% take up leaving 384,000 unsold.

On this score at least the 2010 South African World Cup will not go down in history as the success it is currently being portrayed as and although at this stage it should’t be a future impediment to playing the finals in poorer nations, a similar flop in Brazil will be cause for serious debate.

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