After the very successful ticketing campaign for the 2010 World Cup, it seems the stadiums will be full and the tickets will be virtually completely sold out for the competition.
Early on in the ticket sales process there was criticism at how slowly tickets were selling, but that proved to be a temporary situation. After a number of sales phases a steady demand was created and South Africans really came to the party, buying the bulk of the tickets when less foreign interest was shown due to the economic downturn, security worries and the cost of travel to the bottom most tip of Africa.
Another important factor in the slow start of sales was the internet based ticketing system, which made buying tickets difficult for the vast majority of South Africans without internet access.
That changed when FIFA and the Organizing Committee introduced the final sales phase which was over-the-counter sales, something South Africans were used to in the local league scene. This proved to be a master stroke for the organizers who experienced unprecedented demand, with FIFA experiencing server problems due to the hectic amount of requests for tickets.
The servers crashed a number of times, and people queued for tickets from the night before the first day of over-the-counter sales before waiting until much later the following day in those queues before receiving those tickets.
The original ticket sales avenues were over the internet at the FIFA website and through South African bank, FNB for locals, where applications and credit cards were used. The telephone sales line was then opened and then once over-the-counter sales were introduced, the process added 11 FIFA ticketing centers in all host cities as well as Checkers Hyper shops throughout the country as points of sale.
This helped a great deal with the sale of the tickets, and a total of 500,000 tickets were made available at the start of that sales phase. Those tickets sold like hot cakes, and despite technical difficulties experienced by FIFA and Match, the ticketing partner, ticket sales soared.
To give an indication of the amount of tickets sold to US fans, OC CEO Dr Danny Jordaan told press at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, “The USA won the hearts of many South Africans when they made it to the final of the FIFA Confederations Cup last year and we welcome them back to South Africa. With over 136,000 tickets already sold to their fans, the USA will be followed by many passionate fans in the coming weeks.”
At a media briefing late on Tuesday after the Local Organizing Committee had sat down in their final Board of Directors meeting before the start of the tournament, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke expressed FIFA’s satisfaction with the fact that the percentage ticket sales for the 2010 World Cup have surpassed that of Germany 2006 and it is edging closer towards the 100 per cent mark.
"We are getting closer and closer to the best World Cup ever in terms of ticketing, which was USA in 1994. It is an amazing result that we have in South Africa … we never expected this," said Valcke at the press conference.
Approximately 2.9 million tickets were put on sale for this year’s World Cup, and they have almost all been sold with a few days left before the tournament starts. FIFA has decided today, 5 June 2010, to introduce two additional ticketing products to the general public due to the impressive demand for the tickets that are still available, and the disappointment regarding the matches that are sold out.
The two products, “Partially Obstructed View Tickets” and “Premier Tickets”, will be available from Monday, 7 June only in the 11 FIFA Ticketing Centers (not at the FNB branches, on FIFA.com, at Shoprite/Checkers or the Call Centre). The “Premier Tickets” have been made available from unused hospitality packages.
“As we are experiencing a high last-minute demand for tickets in South Africa, it makes perfect sense to create those two additional ticketing products, as we have similarly done for previous FIFA World Cups”, explained Horst R. Schmidt, Chairman of the FIFA Ticketing Sub-Committee in a statement.
Ticket sales have certainly impressed, and if this trend continues over the next week and during the tournament, we could be watching a tournament with the best ticketing figures of any World Cup in history.
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