SBJ/June 27 - July 3, 2011/Events and Attractions

Ticket sales down but sponsorships up for Women’s World Cup in Germany

Ticket sales for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany will fall short of sales from the 2007 edition in China, but the event is poised to surpass the previous World Cup in sponsorship revenue.

As of late last week, the event had sold 670,000 of the available 890,000 tickets, far short of the 1.2 million tickets sold in 2007. According to FIFA, host nation Germany had accounted for 90 percent of ticket sales. The United States’ three group-stage matches, against South Korea, Colombia and Sweden, had all sold out.

The tournament was scheduled to begin Sunday and run through July 17 in nine cities.

FIFA officials said that partnership sales for the event are above 2007 numbers. FIFA announced in March 2010 it had sold all six national sponsorship packages for the tournament, with Allianz, Commerzbank, national rail line Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Post, retail and tourism group Rewe, and Deutsche Telkom buying the top-tier sponsorships for the event. The partnerships are valued at $5 million apiece. FIFA global marketing partners Coca-Cola, Emirates, Hyundai/Kia, Sony and Visa also have advertising rights at the tournament.

“The sales for this category have been an unprecedented success,” said Thierry Weil, FIFA’s marketing director. “[Sponsorship revenue] comprehensively surpasses the [sponsorship] revenue for China.” FIFA officials declined to discuss the event’s total sponsorship revenue.

MATCH Services, which handles corporate ticket and luxury suite sales for the men’s World Cup, has sold 28,000 commercial hospitality packages for the tournament, priced in four packages from $280 to $1,350 a seat. About 140,000 commercial packages were sold for the 2010 men’s World Cup in South Africa. Pascal Portes, COO of MATCH Services, said buyers from Germany and other Northern European nations have dominated sales for high-end tickets.

“The number of [clients] coming from the United States is quite limited compared to South Africa,” Portes said. “I would say above 90 percent [of sales] has been generated in Germany.”

ESPN will carry all 32 matches of the tournament live, as it did in for the 2007 Women’s World Cup. It is splitting the coverage between ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3.com. The network also will stream 26 matches to mobile devices through the free WatchESPN application, which is available to customers who use Verizon, Time Warner or Brighthouse digital services.

Eric Johnson, ESPN executive vice president of multimedia sales, said the six-hour time difference between Germany and the U.S. East Coast should generate greater audiences compared with 2007. The majority of the 2011 games will air between 8:45 a.m. and 2 p.m. ET. Beijing is 12 hours ahead of New York City, and in 2007, live games aired at 4:55 and 7:55 a.m. “It will allow us to broadcast day games at a much better hour,” Johnson said.

Johnson said advertising sales are pacing ahead of the 2007 tournament, although he declined to discuss revenue numbers. He said the network has created new inventory with its online broadcasts.

As it did in South Africa, ESPN will feature pregame, postgame and halftime shows live from the host nation, and 28 of the 32 matches will see ESPN commentators reporting on-site.

“Like we did in 2010, we want every match to feel like an event,” Johnson said.


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