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SBD Global/May 1, 2014/Events and Attractions

World Cup Final Tickets Offered At $40,000 On Secondary Market, Draw FIFA Warning

World Cup final tickets "are being advertised" for more than $40,000 "on the secondary market by holders ignoring a threat" from FIFA to "void those not resold via the tournament organizer," according to Tariq Panja of BLOOMBERG. The cheapest ticket to the July 13 final at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium on Geneva-based viagogo -- which "describes itself as the world’s largest ticket exchange" -- is $5,240 for a seat with a face value of $440. Games such as the final and the tournament opener on June 12 "are sold out." FIFA "is the only authorized reseller and doesn’t allow ticket holders to charge a premium." Viagogo said that "it’s providing a needed service and doesn’t offer World Cup tickets in countries such as the U.K., where resale is illegal." Viagogo spokesperson Oliver Wheeler said, "We abide by local law and, in the vast majority of territories, it’s legal to sell tickets and that might be for more or less than you originally paid." U.S. football fans "are among the biggest buyers on Viagogo," spending an average of $2,800, the company said. Viagogo "charges sellers a 10 percent fee and buyers a further 15 percent." Even if resellers in most cases "aren’t breaching the law, buyers are taking a risk by using them," said Zurich-based MATCH Services AG, which was contracted by FIFA to handle sales. MATCH Head of Enforcement Imran Patel said, "Anybody selling their tickets on these websites are doing so in breach of the terms and conditions on the tickets and there’s every possibility that, if we can identify the ticket holders, they’ll be invalidated." Wheeler said that prices being sought on Viagogo "aren’t excessive," while gougers rarely get what they are asking for. He cited as an example last year’s Wimbledon tennis final. Wheeler: "The most expensive ticket for the Murray final was advertised at £40,000. The highest price paid was £4,000, which for people who love tennis is probably not excessive" (BLOOMBERG, 4/29).
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