High demand as World Cup ticket sales begin

It was a frenzied start to FIFA’s attempt to fill the stands for

next year’s World Cup in Brazil as fans applied Tuesday for more

than 1 million tickets in just seven hours.

But it will be some time before they know whether they’ll be

among those lucky enough to get seats to football’s signature

event. Applicants won’t hear back until October, after FIFA holds a

random selection draw on all the requests.

More than 163,000 people requested the tickets online in the

first seven hours.

At the end of the first day of sales, the website of football’s

governing body FIFA showed that there were more ticket applications

than the number of seats available in all four price categories for

12 of the 64 matches, including the opener in Sao Paulo and the

final at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium.

Demand was also high in all price categories for the semifinals,

and 44 matches had too many requests at least for the cheaper

category tickets which are only available for Brazilians.

FIFA said the highest amount of applications so far has come

from Brazil, Argentina, the U.S., Chile and England.

”The respective ticket product is already heavily

oversubscribed and therefore, at that point in time, the success of

the application appears very unlikely,” FIFA said of the high

demand categories. ”There are vastly more ticket applicants

seeking tickets than there are tickets presently available for the

general public.”

Prices for the final will go from $440-$990, although Brazilian

fans will pay $165 in the cheaper category. Brazilians over the age

of 60, local students and members of some social programs will be

allowed to pay about $82 for a ticket. Prices for the opener in Sao

Paulo go from $220-$495, with Brazilians paying $80 and discounted

tickets costing $40.

About 500,000 tickets in total were set aside for the category

available solely to Brazilian citizens.

Applications quickly started pouring in after tickets went up

for grabs at 1000 GMT Tuesday. Some fans had to be placed in a

virtual queue ”due to an exceedingly high demand for access to the

ticketing page,” FIFA said on its website.

FIFA’s press office said that in the first hour of sales there

were 14,104 requests for a total of 81,821 tickets. Each applicant

can request for up to four tickets for a maximum of seven

matches.

The organization expects a total of nearly 3.3 million tickets

to be available for the tournament in Brazil, but only about 1

million are offered in the first stage of sales.

FIFA said before sales opened that it expected a demand for

tickets similar to that seen for the 2006 World Cup in Germany,

when there were about seven applicants for every ticket of the

monthlong tournament attended by more than 3.3 million fans. Almost

2 million tickets were sold to the general public for the World Cup

in South Africa in 2010, although the number of applications during

the first ticketing phase was significantly lower.

Sales of leftover tickets will begin Nov. 5 on a first-come,

first-served basis. Another phase will begin Dec. 8 after the World

Cup draw determines where and when each nation will play. The

tournament begins June 12, with Brazil playing in the opener.

Nearly 800,000 fans attended the Confederations Cup in Brazil

earlier this year, with ticket sales easily surpassing those for

the warm-up tournament in South Africa in 2009 and in Germany in

2005.

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