Monday, February 1, 2010

US Fans Can't Afford World Cup Tickets - Headline News ESPN?

I picked this one up on Twitter via @omerida, and the story really is essentially that some US fans ca't afford to go to the World Cup because they don't have enough money.

First of all, I know quite a number of "US fans" and most have them have been following the USMNT for some time.  They've picked up a few useful tidbits of knowledge along the way, like, for instance, that going to World Cups is usually quite expensive.  This isn't something they would normally find out by reading a bunch of sad-sack tales on Soccernet mere months before kick-off.

But our buddy Leander busts out the world's tiniest violin:

Yet many of those who thought they had stumbled on a nice piece of luck are discovering that the tickets they shelled out anywhere from $80 to $900 apiece for will be hard to actually use. Travel to South Africa, as exotic as it may sound, has turned out to be prohibitively expensive. Flights from New York to Johannesburg -- where most games, including the final, will be played -- would normally cost about $1,000, but they will set you back at least $2,500 if travelling during the World Cup.

Last I read, way back in the wild and crazy boom times of 2006, traveling to a first world European country in the middle of summer to watch the World Cup wasn't something you could sort of pick up in the bottom of a discount bin at the airport (god were there such things!).  I mean the economy was doing okay but it's not as if Joe Home Depot Center was chucking twenties on the field whenever goals were scored at MLS games.  In Germany, prices were gouged, things got expensive.  Something about it being the world's most popular international sporting tournament.

And if that could be said for 2006, 2002 in Japan/Korea should be a no-brainer.  Chances are if you were at that tournament with a US flag in hand, you were in Asia teaching English back when it still paid quite a lot.

So I'm guessing these US "fans" Leander provides a whiney platform for may not have really been "fans" at all.  They may have watched the Cobert Report the day after the US spanked Spain in the Confed Cup and made a mental note to buy tickets to that thing that the US might win in Africa, a place everyone knows would probably take bits of dirt as currency.  Meanwhile, other actual US fans either did the smart thing and saved up, or did the smart thing and booked off the appropriate days at work.  What editor approved this story angle?


Matthew N said...

What an asinine post. I had a good two grand set aside for a plane ticket and I have priority ticketing, but it just isn't going to happen. There are too few flights and too few hotels. I'm not going to a country like South Africa and staying in a hostel or something. It would be completely different if this was in a country that had the resources to manage tons of tourists (like Germany, the US, Korea, etc.).

Oscar M. said...

@omerida here - I think the real story would be if fans knew/could find out how expensive the trip was going to be before having to purchase tickets. At the end of the day, buying a ticket was a gamble particularly if you weren't fairly certain that you could travel to South Africa. I think its a bit of sticker shock, some fans wanted to be sure they had tickets to matches before making sure that they could go. Its a risk that the purchasing process sort of encourages, since it anticipates that match tickets would sell out / be hard to come by.

Anonymous said...

if Americans(one of the wealthiest countries in the world)can't afford it then who can?
oh wait. . .hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world. of course there will be inflation wouldn't you want to make money?
The Olympics in Vancouver will be the same way, exactly why I'm not going to them, and I'm from Vancouver.

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