3,334,524. That's the total number of tickets estimated for the upcoming World Cup in Brazil this summer. Seems a bit inflated at first glance, but when you realize there are 32 teams playing 64 games over a stretch of approximately a month, it starts to make more sense. Of the approximate 3.3 million tickets, at least half will be allocated to Brazilian citizens, both at home and abroad. What's left is less than 2 million tickets available for more than an estimated 10 million people's requests. Most people determined to see games in Brazil are going to be disappointed, it's inevitable.
The World Cup ticket acquisition process is far from simple. FIFA, the organizing body behind the "World's Game", has found that breaking down the ticketing process into multiple phases over about a year time span gives the public multiple chances at getting these valuable pieces of paper. There are two types of events, with one being much more nerve racking than the other. The more straight forward type of phase gives prospective soccer (football) fans a chance to apply for games of their choice within a 30 day time span. Once requests are finalized FIFA holds a lottery and some requests are filled, and some are as empty as US soccer's chances to attain the trophy (sad but true). The much more heart pounding processes are the two infamous "First Come, First Serve" phases... imagine a huge mean guy saying it... definitely sounds scary. In these phases, tickets become available at 8 pm Brasilia time (3am Pacific time in the US) and whoever logs in first has first access to the tickets available. Many fans reported waiting at loading screens for one to two hours before FIFA's queue allowed them to enter the requests pages, while others got in within minutes having the opportunity to sort through a multitude of games that others are salivating for. That was the first of two "First Come..." phases and after experiencing one it's easy to see why it is a gut wrenching process.
With fans from more than 210 countries already reserving tickets to the cup, it promises to be an extremely diverse crowd, country wide. There are more than 10 host cities, each getting between 3-6 games. Each of the 32 nations will be represented by passionate fans, joyous to be a witness of their nation's journey in what will be a memorable world cup. Brazil hasn't hosted a world cup since 1950 when they tragically lost to Uruguay in the Final. They are considered by many to have richest history and more influence on the game than any other. The brazilians have embodied a playing style of their own and have produced world talents generation after generation. The hearts and hopes of many in the country hang in the balance when the "Seleção" steps onto the field. The pressure has been mounting on the brazilian players minds for months and the fact that many other nations, including Spain, Germany, Argentina, etc. know they are contenders doesn't make it any easier. The players wearing the yellow jersey with blue shorts, sporting the badge for the brasileiros will have their work cut out for them to satisfy what are easily the most demanding fans in world football.
The final phase of 4 is tonight in about 1 hour. Although I already obtained tickets to three games, I am hoping I can add 2 or 3 more tonight. More than anything I'd like to secure at least one Brazil game. To see them play in front of at least 40,000 of their fans will be an unforgettable experience. As expected these are the hardest tickets to get. Once this phase ends and all the tickets are gone there still might be opportunities to get tickets (whether that is technically legal is another question). FIFA, in its effort to control all tickets, is the only official source for tickets to the events. There will be many ticket owners that choose to scalp the tickets to others, which is not allowed by FIFA. FIFA tries to enforce this by putting the ticket buyers name on the actual tickets, but it is unrealistic to expect to be able to ID as many as 75,000 fans before a game. It would take 5 hours! If the last two world cups in Germany and South Africa are any sign of what to expect, then people will be selling and buying tickets on the black market easier than drugs. Although carelessness by either seller or buyer could lead to risk of getting robbed for tickets and/or money. Tickets for a Brazil game might sell for as much as 10 times the face value and the tickets range from $175 (group stage ticket) to $900 US dollars (Cup Final ticket). You can see how serious this whole ticket acquisition really is. Wish me luck peeps!