Americans Are Biggest World Cup Ticket Buyers Outside of Brazil

Brazilian, American and British soccer fans bought the most seats in the first phase of ticketing for next year’s World Cup in the South American country.

Almost 900,000 tickets were sold to residents of 188 countries, organizers said today in an e-mailed statement. Brazilians got 72 percent of the tickets following a lottery of 6.2 million requests.

The month-long competition will be held in 12 stadiums across South America’s biggest country between June and July. Soccer governing body FIFA, which is responsible for the tournament, said last month it was delaying the ticket draw following a request from the Brazilian government to oversee it.

“The whole draw procedure worked smoothly,” Thierry Weil, FIFA’s marketing director, said in an e-mailed statement. “Of course, we would have liked to please even more football fans at this stage, but there will be other ticket sales windows, with the next one starting in less than a week. By using the electronic random selection draw, we were able to guarantee that the whole procedure remained fair and all applicants had an equal chance.”

Ticket holders will find out in December who they’ll get to watch when the tournament draw takes place in Bahia. Brazilian residents got 625,276 tickets, a third of which went to groups eligible for discounts including students, people aged over 60 and those on welfare benefits.

Residents in the U.S. obtained 66,646, more than those in any other country outside of Brazil. The next largest allocation went to England, where fans will receive 22,257 tickets. Both countries qualified for the 32-team World Cup earlier this year. The remaining six participants will be known following final playoff matches later this month.

The next sales period starts Nov. 11 when 228,959 tickets will be available on a first-come first-served basis until Nov. 28. The final 2 million tickets will be sold after the Dec. 6 draw.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tariq Panja in Rio de Janeiro at tpanja@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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