US leads the way in foreign ticket purchases for World Cup

Americans appear set to be by far the most numerous group of foreign fans coming to South Africa for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, Parliament’s sports and recreation portfolio committee heard on Tuesday.

This is according to the number of tickets sold up to the end of football governing body Fifa’s third sales phase, which ended on January 22.

Briefing MPs, Local Organising Committee CFO Farouk Seedat said 107 576 tickets for the event had been sold to the general public in the United States. The second-highest number of sales was in the United Kingdom (63 835) followed by Germany (29 733) and Australia (26 488).

By comparison, public ticket sales in South Africa’s “top two” neighbouring countries, Mozambique and Botswana, were 1 474 and 1 257 respectively.

To date, a total of 2,1-million tickets had been sold for the event.

Seedat said 311 271 tickets were still available for sale to the general public.

In the current sales phase four—which opened on February 9 and runs to April 7—a total of 194 349 ticket sales had been “confirmed” to date.

“The domestic demand has far outstripped the demand from overseas. A total of 164 193 of the 194 349 have been bought by South Africans,” he said.

From April 15—the start of Fifa’s sales phase five—tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis, with applications processed in the order in which they are received.

Match Event Services executive chairperson Jaime Byrom told MPs that many match tickets, originally allocated to commercial affiliates, hospitality and TV rights holders, licensees and others, would soon become available to the general public.

Ticket seekers who entered Fifa’s random selection draw process, which takes place on April 15, therefore stood a chance to obtain tickets to matches where currently tickets might not be available.

This was the result of tickets being “redistributed” back from these organisations for sale to the general public.

“One day you can have a match that is not available for sale, and then all of a sudden certain matches become available for sale.”

Fifa had not yet come to the end of this redistribution process, he said.

The so-called “random selection draw sales phase” closes on March 31.—Sapa


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