Tickets Still Available For This Year's World Cup One Day Before It Starts
Tickets "were still unsold for 20 matches" at this year's FIFA World Cup just one day before the start of the tournament, according to Martyn Ziegler of the LONDON TIMES. Among those with tickets still available are England's opening match on Monday against Tunisia, while Russia's opening match against Saudi Arabia in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium "only sold out yesterday." FIFA "insisted that the number of matches that had yet to be sold out was not a reflection of a lack of public interest in the World Cup but a result of an extra 120,000 tickets being released only last week." FIFA will "keep its ticket sales website open until the day of the final on July 15." Few tickets are "expected to be available via touts due to Russia's stiff penalties," and FIFA has "gone to war with secondary ticket websites" (LONDON TIMES, 6/13).
FAN PRESENCE: ESPN.com's Mark Ogden noted the U.S. will "send more visiting supporters" to the World Cup than any other nation, "despite the failure of the national team to qualify for the tournament." More than 870,000 tickets "had been sold to fans in Russia" by the beginning of the week, but 88,825 ticket have been sold "in the U.S. since they became available to buy last September." Brazil is the "best-supported nation outside of the hosts and the U.S., with 72,512 tickets sold." Colombia (65,234), Mexico (60,302), Argentina (54,031) and Peru (43,583) have all "outsold England, traditionally one of the best-backed teams at a major tournament, who have so far seen just over 32,000 tickets bought" (ESPN.com, 6/12). In London, Jamie Johnson noted heightened political tensions between the U.K. and Russia, "fears of racism and homophobia and the high cost of travel to the World Cup appears to have put some fans off." England is "10th on the list of countries that have purchased tickets" (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 6/12).