It is Game one of the World Series between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees and all of America is yearning for a ticket to the game. Fans want to stand by their city – bask in the highs and lows, the glory of each home run and strikeout, and even the pain of a heartbreaking loss. Imagine that instead of seven games there is just one game, and instead of a season filled with hundreds of games, there are just a few that occur once every four years. Imagine that your team is not just playing for your city but for the entire country, showing off the qualities of your nation against 31 others in front of billions of viewers; and you have only three games that will be remembered for a lifetime. This is the World Cup. It is a tournament where dreams are fulfilled once every four years, where hearing the national anthem can bring tears to your eyes, and where a fast goal can mean decades of humiliation.
This year, the World Cup has returned to what many pundits call “the spiritual home of soccer”—Brazil. The tournament was last held in Brazil in 1950. During the final match, Brazil lost a heartbreaking final to Uruguay in the Maracanã stadium of Rio de Janeiro. Since that time, Brazil has gone on to conquer five World Cup titles, but has never overcome the disappointment of losing at home. The 2014 FIFA World Cup gives fans from around the world the chance to enjoy the beautiful game, and visit a land that is fast becoming a popular tourist destination. With iconic cities like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, and northern resort towns such as Natal, Recife and Fortaleza, Brazil provides attractions for any taste. This World Cup will take place in twelve cities across the vast landscape of Brazil, including four games in the Amazonian city of Manaus.
With the World Cup taking place in Brazil this year, it is the first time the tournament is being held in North America since 1994 and the first time in South America since 1978. This means that some of the most passionate fútbol fans will have the chance to watch their nation play in person without traversing an ocean. This year, there are six South American countries in the tournament as well as four from North and Central America, and their fans are hungry for a taste of the action that hasn’t come this close to home in over a generation.
Due to the massive interest of American fans, scores of ticket brokers from the United States have set their sights on providing tickets for all of the tournament’s 64 games, taking place between June 12 and July 13. The primary market for these tickets is controlled entirely by FIFA, the organizing body of international soccer, as tickets were distributed to fans in the form of several lotteries, the last of which occurred in April of 2014. Fans also had the option of purchasing tickets on the secondary ticket market on sites like TicketNetwork, so they could have the experience of being in the stadium to witness their nation’s heroes take the field.
In the last month ticket sales have been red hot. On the TicketNetwork exchange, five percent of all GTV and one percent of all orders have been for the World Cup, including orders for nearly every match. People are certainly taking advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the World Cup in person. The first week of the tournament saw stadiums covered in red for Chile, yellow for Colombia, and blue for Argentina, turning the matches into home games for the South Americans.
TicketNetwork founder and CEO, Don Vaccaro, has been pleasantly surprised with customer interest in the World Cup, “We haven’t experienced anything like this before for soccer. The World Cup happens only once every four years, in different parts of the world, so a lot can change from one Cup to the next.” Proving the international appeal of the event, the exchange has received orders from 28 different countries, with the combined sales from Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Peru, USA and Colombia accounting for over 80%.
Right from the opening kickoff, Brazil has been invaded by fans of their South American neighbors, all of whom are in a position to advance to the second round of the tournament, which begins Saturday, June 28. With teams starting to secure their advancement, there promise to be many new orders from supporters who want to see their team continue towards the World Cup Final in Rio de Janeiro on July 13. In order to provide the most adaptable and safe service to the clients, the majority of brokers have established offices in Brazil where they can process orders and distribute tickets in the form of local pickup. This makes it possible for legions of travelling fans to order and receive tickets in the few days between the Quarterfinal and Semifinal matches, or if they are lucky, leading up to the Final.
We are currently approaching the third set of group stage games which begin on Monday, June 23. In this stage, some countries will be knocked out of the tournament, while others progress to the “Round of 16.” As the FIFA World Cup continues, look for excitement to build in all countries that continue their journey toward the 18k gold trophy, and ticket sales to experience a bump with the advancement of each team. Whether your team goes on to win the trophy, or bows out early, history is sure to be written this month in Brazil!