Brazilian Football Clubs Reduce Ticket Prices, Hand Out Free Tickets In Effort To Fill Stadiums
Brazilians like to say that "theirs is the country of football," but the next World Cup host "struggles" to fill its stadiums, according to Andrew Downie of REUTERS. Fewer people in Brazil go to see professional football matches than in China or the U.S. With attendances falling further this year, Brazilian clubs "are using different strategies to try to fill their grounds, but they are hampered by antiquated stadiums, a lack of respect for fans, television stations that show every game live and insufficient policing and security." Well-known Brazilian sports writer Juca Kfouri said, "Lots of people confuse the phenomenon of the World Cup in Brazil with a true love of the game. Brazil is not a country where people love football. It is a country where people love to party around the World Cup." That assertion "got factual backing from two recent reports on attendances." One, by the Stochos consultancy, "showed the average crowd at Brazilian first-division matches has fallen 8% this season to less than 13,000." A second study "put Brazil 13th on a world table of attendances for '11." Brazilian sports consultancy Pluri, which used slightly different methodology to Stochos, reported that "an average of 14,987 fans attended first-division matches." Brazilian clubs "are trying creative solutions to remedy the situation." In Recife, fans of the city's three biggest teams "get tickets in return for requesting invoices for purchases in stores." Under the program, first-division teams Sport and Nautico "get 8,000 tickets for each home game paid for by the state government." The 20,000 tickets given to third division Santa Cruz "have helped it to become one of the best-supported clubs in the country." Other clubs "have selectively reduced entry fees" (REUTERS, 11/14).