Thursday, April 15, 2010

Getting It Right with Tickets

It's late. My goodness, yes. What, 500,000 tickets available seven weeks ahead of the World Cup? That's cutting it close.

But Fifa and local organizers finally made tickets available to South Africans at retail outlets around the country, for cash, and they sold briskly.

Interesting journalism concept here: The general report is all upbeat, pretty much, and the internal, South Africa story points out scuffles in lines and a man dying from a heart attack.

But let's give some credit here: The people in charge of this finally are doing what needed to be done to finish selling out stadiums.

To be sure, it hasn't unfolded exactly how Fifa hoped and South African organizers wanted. The hope was for 450,000 foreign visitors for the World Cup, and it now looks as if it will be closer to 200,000.

Blame for that can be spread in several directions: 1) high plane fares to South Africa from ... anywhere; 2) overpriced lodging, especially back when South Africans thought foreigners were coming en masse and they could gouge them; and 3) negative news about crime in South Africa and, of late, political unrest, particularly as it pertains to race.

At the end here, Fifa is selling tickets for $20, which is real money in South African townships but certainly is not in the realm of World Cup soccer.

Thus, the amount of revenue generated from ticket sales will be markedly lower than hoped for or forecast. Planes won't be as full. Hotels will have empty rooms. (Fifa may want to think long and hard before putting the World Cup in another poor country again.)

But, at least, it appears that stadiums will be filled. Reportedly (and Fifa seems to make this stuff up as it goes), 23 matches now are sold out, including the opener, the two semifinals and the final. That's nice. It would have been embarrassing to have empty seats for the championship match of the world's biggest sports events.

We don't have to worry about that, at least. And neither does Fifa ... or local organizers.
Read more!