Bayern Munich supporter Christopher Intsiful got his ticket to tomorrow’s Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund in London and he didn’t even have to give up his beer to get there.
The 45-year-old public relations executive had offered to exchange his 10-person table at Munich’s Oktoberfest --including about 20 liters (5.3 gallons) of beer and 10 half-chickens -- for a seat to the sold-out all-German championship game at Wembley Stadium. The evening table at the annual beer festival costs 300 euros ($385), while tickets to the final have a face value of 60 euros to 330 euros.
“I don’t know how much it’s going to cost, but I’m hoping it’s face value because I’m getting the ticket through real fans,” the resident of the Munich suburb of Neufahrn bei Freising said after a fellow supporter came up with a spare ticket. “I’m a big Oktoberfest fan too, but if I had to choose between it and Bayern, there’s only one choice I could make.”
Bayern, losing finalist in two of the last three years, is the 4-9 favorite for the match at U.K. bookmaker William Hill Plc, meaning a successful $9 bet would bring $4 plus the original wager. Dortmund, which finished second in the Bundesliga, 25 points behind Bayern, is 7-4.
UEFA, which organizes European soccer’s elite club competition, gave each team more than 24,000 tickets in the 86,000-seat stadium. Dortmund, which won the title in 1997, received over 500,000 requests from its fans, while Bayern had applications from more than 200,000. The volume of demand meant many turned to the secondary ticket market on the Internet.
“We saw demand on our website quadruple the minute it was announced it would be an all-German final,” said Steve Roest, head of business development for Europe at Viagogo, a website that allows fans to buy and sell unwanted tickets. “The Champions League is always one of the most popular events of the year. Demand from Germany has never been higher.”
Tickets for the match started at about 1,400 euros on Viagogo’s German website. Other ticketing sites are offering seats for as much as 2,000 euros. UEFA has advised fans not to buy from unofficial suppliers on the Internet.
“UEFA has been made aware of individuals offering for sale tickets for the 2013 UEFA Champions League final, in particular via advertisements and postings placed on the Internet,” European soccer’s ruling body said in a statement. “UEFA urges fans to ignore all such offers and refrain from attempting to buy such tickets as all such offers are not authorized by UEFA and may be fraudulent.”
Many of the tickets on Viagogo, which is a partner of Bayern Munich for domestic matches, are coming from fans of beaten semifinalists Barcelona and Real Madrid, the bookmakers’ favorites to reach the title match, Roest said in a telephone interview.
“A lot of disappointed Spanish fans are selling their tickets,” he said, adding Viagogo guarantees buyers get authentic tickets for the final.
Intsiful said he and relatives were unlucky in trying to get tickets through their club memberships and the Bayern fan club.
“This is my last hope,” he said of the Oktoberfest offer he placed on Facebook before he found a ticket today.
His wasn’t the only ticket proposal on the social networking website. One fan offered a Bayern season ticket for next season in exchange for a seat at tomorrow’s match, while another was making tickets to the June 1 German Cup final between Bayern and Stuttgart available.
Intsiful has been planning his trip to London since before Bayern overcame Juventus with a pair of 2-0 victories in the quarterfinal in April. He said he was in Milan when the club won the most recent of its four European Cup titles in 2001.
“I booked the flights and hotel in London before the quarterfinal,” he said. “When we won in 2001 -- it’s on the same level as my wedding day. My wife knows that.”