Sponsors of the World Cup failed to take up as many as 100,000 tickets reserved for them, according to soccer governing body FIFA’s head of marketing Thierry Weil.
Sponsors came under fire during previous events, including the last World Cup in South Africa and the London 2012 Olympics, after broadcasts showed banks of empty seats at events and games that were sold out for the general public. FIFA has changed the way it issues tickets to its commercial partners, asking them to confirm demand five months before the start of the tournament and reconfirm demand ahead of individual matches.
“We reserved some tickets for them in January 2014,” Weil said in an interview in Sao Paulo yesterday. “They buy what they need and the rest that we received is injected back into general sale. It was about 100,000.”
According to FIFA’s ticketing guidelines about 25 percent of World Cup tickets are reserved for partners and affiliates. The Zurich-based organization made $4.5 billion from sales directly related to the soccer World Cup, with the majority of that income coming from television rights and sponsorship agreements. About 3.1 million tickets were made available for the World Cup.
Further sponsor tickets could re-enter the market in days before matches with FIFA asking its commercial partners to reconfirm their requirements before the tournament, which starts when host Brazil meets Croatia in Sao Paulo on June 12.
“Tickets will only be handed over the day of the game to the commercial partners. We can reallocate some of the tickets which will not be used to either other commercial affiliates or to the public,” Weil said in a previous interview in 2012.
FIFA’s income from the World Cup smashed its 2012 revenue forecast. Then it expected sales of $3.8 billion. FIFA is spending about $2 billion on staging the event, according to its Secretary General Jerome Valcke.
Ticket demand for this year’s event is the highest ever, according to Weil, who said 11 million applications have been made. About 2.95 million have been allocated, he said. He expected some new tickets to enter the market as fans who’ve been unable to make travel arrangements try to resell their purchases.
In recent days police in Brazil have made arrests in Brazil related to the illegal sale of World Cup tickets.
“It’s a natural thing when you have an event on this size and a demand of 11 million,” Weil said.
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