July 19 (Bloomberg) -- World Cup soccer ticket prices will range from $990 for the final next July to an option that would allow Brazilians to watch opening-round games for as little as $15, the sport’s governing body said today.
Sales will start Aug. 20. The price announcement was delayed from last month as Brazil’s biggest demonstrations in two decades occurred during the Confederations Cup, a warm-up for next year’s tournament also conducted by FIFA, soccer’s international federation.
Organizers, after coming under pressure from government, have included half-price tickets for Brazilian citizens over 60 and a selection of discounted $15 tickets at group-stage matches for Brazilians with low income, $5 cheaper than the lowest-price tickets sold to South Africans for the World Cup in 2010. As many as 60,000 free tickets will be distributed to construction workers on the 12 stadiums.
“These prices are extremely competitive,” Thierry Weil, FIFA’s marketing director, said today at a press conference in Sao Paulo. “I hope FIFA together with the local organizing committee and government has proven to be reasonable when it comes to prices, especially for an event which is the biggest sporting event in the world.”
Crowds took to the streets during the Confederations Cup to protest about poor public services, political corruption and the near 30 billion reais ($13.4 billion) being spent on projects linked to the World Cup.
Entrance prices have been among the most-contentious issues in the country, where the average real income fell 0.3 percent to 1,863 reais in May from the previous month, according to the national statistics office.
Tickets will be sold in four categories, with the last one reserved for Brazilians, meaning the country’s citizens will be able to buy access to 47 group games, not including the June 12 tournament opener, for as little as $30. The elderly, students and people in households receiving social benefits get a further 50 percent discount on that price. International prices for group games will range from $175 to $90.
Entry to the opening game in Brasilia, which will feature Brazil, the host and record five-time champion, will cost between $220 and $495. Visitors wanting to attend the final will have to pay a minimum of $440. That compares with $400 for the final of the 2010 World Cup in Johannesburg, where the most expensive entry cost $900. Priority will be given to students, the elderly and low-income families -- all of whom will get a 50-percent discount on some tickets in the opening sales phase, Weil said.
Brazil’s Deputy Sports Minister Luis Fernandes said in a June 29 interview that FIFA “initially resisted immensely” to incorporate discount tickets for the elderly in its sales plan before relenting.
“That I think was a major achievement because we have discounts for elderly that live in Brazil or if they’re Brazilian and living overseas in all categories of legislation,” he said.
The profile of fans that attended the Confederations Cup, a test event that used six of the 12 World Cup stadiums, differed from the usual makeup of spectators that attend soccer games in Brazil. The eight-team competition attracted more families and wealthier supporters, with ticket prices much higher than those for club matches.
The games were the first in the country’s history to assign seats to spectators used to arriving at stadiums and choosing where to sit, or stand. The World Cup will be an all-seated event.
“I know in Brazil it is still today different when it comes to seat categorization but this is the international standard of seat categorization,” Weil said.
The income from ticket sales will go toward the hosting costs. In South Africa, revenue from tickets amounted to $300 million after FIFA said it sold 97.5 percent of the 3 million seats available. Some spaces remained empty after sponsors and other FIFA partners failed to take up their seat allocation, which amounts to about 20 percent of the total available.
A “big portion -- nearly 80 percent -- are going to fans in a free way” as FIFA sponsors give away seats to supporters in contests, Weil said.
Brazil won the right to host the World Cup in October 2007 after the only other candidate, Colombia, withdrew six months earlier.
To contact the reporter on this story: Tariq Panja in Rio de Janeiro at firstname.lastname@example.org
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