Over 500,000 tickets went on sale in SA over the counter in the final phase. Organizers are confronted with the Herculean task of selling these in the next two months or risk seeing sparsely attended matches.
The enthusiastic response of fans who swamped ticker counters resulted in computer malfunctions forcing long and frustrating delays in getting tickets. Many had come hours before the windows opened and coupled with these technical glitches were forced to wait up to 20 hours. Despite the problems, 53,000 tickets were sold in eight hours.
However, if the organizers had done their homework right they would have had a less nerve wracking time selling tickets.
FIFA and the LOC (Local Organizing Committee) turned a blind eye to the fact that many SA fans do not go on the internet to buy their tickets and prefer paying cash. The tedious application process also turned away the few who use the internet. With internet penetration low, FIFA and the LOC should have come up with proactive local marketing solutions earlier in the ticketing process.
Ticket sales have been brisk in the USA, flat in Europe, and in Japan and generally in Asia, they have been disappointing. But there are indications that South Africans themselves are not coming out in droves to buy. The danger are the lower profile matches involving nations like New Zealand, Slovenia, Algeria, and Greece.
The SA government is also resorting to waiving visa fees at the point of entry in a bid to attract more World Cup fans. They are also setting up fast track channels to expedite visa processing.