It was a frenzied start to FIFA’s attempt to fill the stands for next year’s World Cup in Brazil as fans on Tuesday applied for more than 1 million tickets in just seven hours.
However, it will be some time before they know if they are among those lucky enough to get seats at soccer’s signature event. Applicants will not hear back until October, after FIFA holds a random draw on all the requests.
In the first seven hours, More than 163,000 people requested tickets online.
At the end of the first day of sales, the Web site of soccer’s world governing body showed that there were more ticket applications than seats available in all four price categories for 12 of the 64 matches, including the opener in Sao Paulo and the final at Rio de Janeiro.
Demand was high in all price categories for the semi-finals and 44 matches had too many requests for the cheaper category tickets, available only to Brazilians.
FIFA said the highest amount of applications so far have come from Brazil, Argentina, the US, Chile and England.
“The respective ticket product is already heavily oversubscribed and therefore, at that point in time, the success of the application appears very unlikely,” FIFA said of the high-demand categories. “There are vastly more ticket applicants seeking tickets than there are tickets presently available for the general public.”
Prices for the final will range from US$440 to US$990, although Brazilian fans will pay US$165 in the cheaper category. Brazilians over the age of 60, students and members of some social programs will be allowed to pay about US$82 for a ticket. Tickets for the opener in Sao Paulo will cost between US$220 and US$495, with Brazilians paying US$80 and discounted tickets costing US$40.
About 500,000 tickets were set aside for the category available only to Brazilian citizens.
Applications started pouring in after tickets went up for grabs at 10am on Tuesday. Some fans had to be placed in a virtual queue “due to an exceedingly high demand for access to the ticketing page,” FIFA said.
FIFA’s press office said that in the first hour of sales there were 14,104 requests for 81,821 tickets. Each applicant can request up to four tickets for a maximum of seven matches.
The organization expects a total of nearly 3.3 million tickets to be available for the tournament in Brazil, but only about 1 million are offered in the first stage of sales.
FIFA said before sales opened that it expected a demand for tickets similar to that seen for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, when there were about seven applicants for every ticket.
Sales of leftover tickets will begin on Nov. 5 on a first-come, first-served basis and another phase will begin on Dec. 8 after the World Cup draw is held.