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Reconnecting fans with the beautiful game

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David Bond | 20:09 UK time, Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Most World Cups have faced criticism for allocating too many tickets to corporate fans - leaving ordinary supporters feeling like they are missing out.

But South Africa 2010 feels different. Thanks to the recession, combined with high hotel and travel prices, the multi-national giants, who traditionally send in huge numbers to big sporting events, have stayed away.

The banks and other financial companies, still anxious about being seen to be extravagant, have decided to keep a low profile here.

And, although South African companies have stepped in to fill the void, the firm responsible for selling corporate packages for this World Cup admits it has taken a hit.

So far Match Hospitality - Fifa's official ticketing, hospitality, travel and IT partner for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups - has have made £173m in revenue from corporate hospitality package sales.

But what is surprising here is the geographical split, with South African companies contributing £125m while the rest of the world a mere £48m.

Match Hospitality chief executive Jaime Byrom told me that the corporate hospitality element of their contract with Fifa was the only one which would make a loss. He added he was hopeful companies would still decide to take up packages once the tournament kicks off on Friday. Equally, he has the chance to recover any losses in Brazil in four years.

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However, Byrom did acknowledge that the global economic slump had made it very hard to sell tickets to big companies and that Match should have started selling packages six months earlier.

To illustrate the point regarding foreign fans, the latest figures for overseas supporters heading to South Africa reveals a very unusual pattern for a World Cup.

The biggest group of fans are coming from the United States, which sounds unlikely at first, but isn't so surprising when you consider football supporters from all over the world live in the US and have American passports.

The UK, Germany, Australia, Mexico and Canada make up the rest of the top six. Only two European countries in the top six isn't what was expected.

Fortunately for Match and Fifa, South Africa is embracing this event enthusiastically.

And one of the beneficiaries of the disappointing overseas turnout is the ordinary South African, who has been given the chance to snap up tickets which were left unsold.

On Monday, 38,000 tickets - which were earmarked for hospitality lounges - went on sale labelled "beer and biltong" seats. For £130, fans can buy tickets to games which include snacks and drinks.

This is a lot of money for South Africans but there was no shortage of enthusiasm as queues snaked round the corner from ticket offices in Sandton and Soweto. For many people getting a ticket - any ticket - is all that matters.

Organisers may not have exactly planned it this way, but this World Cup may just help to reconnect the beautiful game with ordinary fans.


  • Comment number 1.

    First Comment! Good piece David, think it is fantastic how the game is returning back to it's roots once more

  • Comment number 2.

    I like that. Not sure how the different fan groups mingle with each other in the same section though?

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    LOL - brilliant! Love the idea of middle class South Africans getting their hands on 'beer & biltong' seats previously reserved for global suits. Maybe they can also set up braais in the lounges too? :-)

    Surprised that Mexico is #5 in ticket sales. Yeah, I thought it was still a third world country. Good for them.

  • Comment number 5.

    "For £130, fans can buy tickets to games which include snacks and drinks.

    This is a lot of money for South Africans"

    "... this World Cup may just help to reconnect the beautiful game with ordinary fans."

    I can not begin to imagine what your definition of 'ordinary' could be. And yet the whole article led up to this.

  • Comment number 6.

    It's good the locals are buying tickets it boost the atmosphere. On and Off the field. Good blog Bond.

    Interseting World cup predictions here

  • Comment number 7.

    For the last ten years the Bundesliga has ben showing the way by insisting on financially sound clubs that avoid massive debt and sell cheap tickets in order to fill grounds to capacity - no matter how much is paid in TV rights.

    Result? Today's announcement that it has overtaken the Premiership as the most profitable league in the world

    If we get 2018 I hope the FA has the sense to follow suit.

  • Comment number 8.

    first comment - happy to see corporate fat cats getting a good kick in the teeth. many of us wouldn't mind paying a fair amount for tickets, but 6k one game - adios thomas cook!

    second comment - this article completely overlooks the fact that many people have been put off going to south africa due to it's high crime rate etc. i'm not saying it's exaggerating or not, just pointing this out.

    third comment - there have been more tickets already previously reserved for ordinary poor fans in south africa.. many of which are still available in south africa (see even fifa's website), so to see the poor flogged 'rich tickets' seems quite tasteless, even for fifa et al.

    fourth comment - as a holiday destination in the middle of our northern hemisphere summer, it's winter there, so a lot colder. for people considering staying out for several weeks, that would come into consideration if you were to spend several thousands of pounds. also forgotten about so this in itself is what is 'giving ordinary fans' more chance for tickets; this lack of interest from outside of south africa.

    i'd like to point out many 'ordinary' non-south african fans have been priced out of the market as well at the expense of specially subsidized tickets for locals. so really, your opening line about most world cups 'leaving ordinary supporters feeling like they are missing out' still rings true. just everywhere other than in south africa!

  • Comment number 9.

    There is a good chance that football will return to its socialist roots, especially after the financial crisis. All the foreign investors, corporations, sponsors, etc are having to respond to the economic conditions that are still prevalent, and their lessened involvement in the game can only be good for the game itself and the working class fans. Of course this isn't going to happen overnight, and it will take a long time potentially, but I do think we are seeing a new way of thinking, away from free market fundamentalism and free market financial capitalism, towards a more participatory democratic system with a democratic socialist economic system that serves the interests of the many and not the few.
    Unfortunately, if it is true that the benefits that locals are getting is at the expense of travelling fans, it is a bit of a disappointment, because the world cup is meant to be world event and is a great opportunity for fans of different countries to mingle and experience different cultures. So it is a shame if others have to lose out for someone to benefit. This is a further indictment of the current socioeconomic/political system most of the world is following. The system is such that for one group to benefit, another normally has to suffer some loss. This is the way the financial and corporate elite who rule the world maintain the status quo by engendering a divide and rule policy. Ensure the proletariat and the lumpen and petit bourgeois fight amongst themselves, while they benefit from the conflict and keep control of the institutions that control social, economic and political decisions made all over the world.

  • Comment number 10.

    Interesting to note that the South African Premier Soccer League (Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates etc) had an average attendance of 7,526 last season (must be true, it's on Wikipedia) - somewhat less than our own League 1. So these "ordinary fans" turn out to be less committed than we might imagine.

  • Comment number 11.

    I'm an ordinary south african football fan:) going to see 11 matches after endless hours/days of queing at ticketing offices and cursing match for their poor interface on fifa's site,all definately worth it in the end....VIVA BAFANA BAFANA VIVA,and the Three Lions ofcourse(got to see them yesterday and still thrilled about that!!!)

  • Comment number 12.

    Some banks are not keeping too low profile with the Royal Bank of Scotland shelling out over £100,000 to turn their London HQ into a mini football stadium, to wine and dine clients and staff throughout the world cup, where they can play on the surface, enjoy drinks and meals. Nice to see them with such clever ideas, just as they are axing staff and cutting costs. No wonder taxpayers rage with the rubbish it’s spent on with RBS being 84% taxpayer owned.

    There was also an interesting clip on TV about an African making a nice South Africa 2010 World Cup key-ring, good looking it was, retail price £3 each . FIFA filed to sue, shortly afterwards they have their own flimsy made in China key-ring, looks awful and cheap, £10 retail price. Is it really all about the fans, the people, nah, it’s a business, they will make as much as they can, and leave for their next destination.

    Is £130 a ticket really connecting ordinary fans with the beautiful game, I would have thought £130 was quite a lot for the average citizen of South Africa who wants to watch a 90 minute game of football, it certainly would be to most here in the UK, and never mind taking the kids along with you to make a proper day of it, or do they get in for £65! Hardly reconnecting fans with the beautiful game I would have thought.

  • Comment number 13.

    I will be travelling to South Africa on Friday for the world cup and on a personal note, I can't wait!!!

    I have been lucky enough to get tickets for the England vs USA game plus 6 more group games and will be coming back on the 23rd.

    I for one have taken advantage of the recession, over priced tickets and flights as all tickets have been purchased through FIFA as they quite simply have not sold enough. I am not an England member and think I went to maybe two of the qualifiers but as a football fan the world cup is about watching the beautiful game.

    If the holiday is planned right and booked early then you can have a resonably priced holiday. If all goes to plan then I will defintely be going to Brazil in four years time.

    Prices are each person - 3 in party

    Flights (£750), Accomdation (£400), Car hire (£100) Tickets (£650)

    P.S I for one will be making a special effort to buy from the locals out there and not FIFA.

  • Comment number 14.

    " "For £130, fans can buy tickets to games which include snacks and drinks.

    This is a lot of money for South Africans"

    "... this World Cup may just help to reconnect the beautiful game with ordinary fans."

    I can not begin to imagine what your definition of 'ordinary' could be. And yet the whole article led up to this. " #5 Alan

    I felt exactly the same reading this blog. It's almost like a long winded joke with a bad (£130) punchline. I wonder if the author of this blog would think £130 is "reconnecting fans to the beautiful game" if he were a struggling south african who wanted to see this world cup. I know many English people who would struggle to get that kind of money together for a football match, never mind your "ordinary" South African (just what is an "ordinary" South African anyway? perhaps Mr Bond could specify more clearly just which demographic of people he's talking about here, because its not immediately clear to me - its sounds like he's talking about an ordinary AFFLUENT south african).

  • Comment number 15.

    Great news. Just a shame that the fat cats still get the majority of final seats at the biggest events: World Cup final, Euro final, Champions League final, Europa League final, etc.

    And I agree with the comment from earlier about the Bundesliga being a great model for the rest of the world in terms of fan value/experience.

  • Comment number 16.

    Bond are you having a laugh?

    There is nothing more I would like more then to go and see a match at this world cup.... unfortunately...

    Return Plane ticket to south africa: 4,000 USD
    Accommodation: 100 USD a night
    Group stages Match Ticket: 200 USD
    Stevie G lifting the world cup: Priceless

    Fifa might be doing as much as possible to ensure that we don't see empty stadiums this world cup by practically giving away tickets to local South Africans..... They haven't done a thing however about all the inflated prices of airlines making it almost impossible for "ordinary fans" to make it to this world cup.

  • Comment number 17.

    League matches here are 20 rand and I watched South Africa v Zimbabwe at the new Durban stadium for 30 Rand ( approx £2.50)and it was only half full. Not sure £130 will help so many ordinary fans see the games

  • Comment number 18.

    I have South African friends, who are white and reasonably well off for SA. They earn about $700 a month as university graduates. So why the hell would they pay $200 for a group game? Oooooh, they get some free snacks, whoooop-de-dooooo. What an utter joke. A disgrace. How do you think black SA's from the townships can afford this? CRIME. Theft, selling drugs, car jacking. Thats the only way to generate this kind of surplus of cash to watch 90 minutes of entertainment. Well done FIFA, once again you have proved what incompetent fools you are.

  • Comment number 19.

    I think it would be advisable to see the price for Cat4 tickets : for the 8 games in Cape Town my total cost is GBP202 at today's rate. Definitely not so expensive: for information a game last year between the Lions and the Spingbok would have set you back for a cool GBP130 a GAME.

    However, I think a lot of hotels are paying a high price for their greediness fed by Match demagogic discourse . Match is a disgrace. The hotels they booked had to maintain their 2007 prices for them and a host of disgraceful conditions (too long to enumarate and excluding the FIFA requirement for law changes to accomodate them) and justifying their 30% mark-up as normal pratice... The travel industry has long forgone that kind of mark-ups, they would be at best a third of Match's.
    Airlines have also tried to milk the foreigners on long hauls and locals on domestic : there is a big discout on flights now. Remember that RSA is a the bottom end of the world, competition is minimal on air travel. Few other african nations will not come due to flight prices as well : in normal times, it costs 25-40% more to fly to any african destination than Europe-Asia or the US.
    A piece of advice for those looking forward to Brazil : get your FIFA tickets very early (at worst you can release them back to FIFA for a refund), your plane ticket late and do not organise your accomadation via MATCH.

  • Comment number 20.

    Mr Murray, whilst it may be winter in South Africa, you are still looking at average temperatures of around 25 C, and plenty of sunshine, which is warmer than we usually get in summer in britain.

    So this whole argument of the cold keeping people away, doesn't really stand up

  • Comment number 21.

    Yay, more Vuvuzela's!!!

    Although apart from this, it's much better to have people there who are enthusiastic about the game, not just enjoying a corporate freebie!

  • Comment number 22.

    David Bond - you're clearly living in a different financial world to a lot of people in the UK, let alone the informal settlements in South Africa. Write us an article when the price of a ticket for locals falls below a week's wages (and I don't mean journalists' or city traders' salaries by that). That's the story I think I and many others want to hear, we want to believe the folks who live around the stadium will get a chance to see the beautiful game, all kinds of football fans, not just the folks in the big houses on top of the hill.

    You should check out the BBC's own really fine video shorts including the ten year old lad who walks past the Capetown stadium every day and is dreaming of getting in to see a game. It's him and his pals I want to see in the stadium cheering on their heroes. That's the story I want to read. Call us when the South African authorities release tickets at 5 pounds each to locals.

  • Comment number 23.

    How much are Fifa selling 'normal price' group game's for - as I take it the £130 ones are for added hospitality (food etc)?

    It still all seems very expensive for the majority of South Africans to get into the games nevermind the tourists especially in the current financial climate, although with the vuvuzelas stadium noise wont be a problem at least if seats remain empty.

    Well done the German Bundesliga on their success on ticket pricing - a lot of people in England are priced out of seeing Premiership games nowadays..soon stadiums will only be filled with journos and TV crews heh? (just kidding David)
    I would say it's lucky the U.K. has the Olympics on our doorstep, but with the cost of building it and the estimated ticket costs for the main stadium here it's doubtful your average Jo can get into that either - like the Dome and Wembley we just end up paying for on second thoughts thank god for the BBC et al!

  • Comment number 24.

    I have many friends in South Africa who are essentially cricket and rugby supporters but such is the excitement sorrounding South Africa's hosting of the world cup that most of my friends have bought tickets for world cup games. Every time additional tickets are released to the South African public there are queques of people snapping them up.

  • Comment number 25.

    I would not have commented on this fascinating debate until I read the last line of the message from 19. Bikou

    He states on his advice for Brazil to but you plane ticket late. As a travel agent for 20 years can I please tell anybody reading this blog that no matter if it is a world cup or a normal holiday, NEVER buy a long haul ticket late. Always always buy as early as possible particularly for something like this. Economy tickets to SA now are £1000 plus. Purchased a year ago they would have been £650. Prices ALWAYS increase the closer you get to the date.

    Would love to have posted a football comment but Bikous advice was so totally and utterly wrong, I felt I had to let people know.

  • Comment number 26.

    £130 is a lot of money to South Africans?! It's a lot of money to your average Brit, too.

    Your average Championship price is twenty quid, and I consider that a ripoff for an hour and a half's entertainment. I almost pity fans of the Big Five.

  • Comment number 27.

    mr murray no-one cares if you have first comment- but i think it is brilliant to be excited by getting first comment, only to write a massive comment which took so long youre actually 8th. that's why most people put something terribly insightful like Yay first comment, Or FIRST- good blog.

    Good points though- Yay 27th or I have I took too long to write this?

  • Comment number 28.

    @mr murray:

    Your comment about the weather is a silly one. There's more sunlight in Johannesburg in June then there is in London in June. Day time temperatures in South Africa are in the mid to high teens in winter. So in many respects South African winter is better than an English Summer. With the usual removal of shirt antics that Englishmen get up to you'd come back from 'winter' baked to a crisp.

    The scaremongering about the crime has cost Englishmen the experience of a lifetime in South Africa. Affordable alcohol, good food and a unique world cup experience.

    This blog entry forgot the important fact that there are £13 - £15 tickets available to average South Africans with obstructed views.
    Surely that was the ending to the article you were looking for.

    Do you really think it is going to be any cheaper in Brazil? In case you don't know Brazil also has a crime problem.

  • Comment number 29.

    Vincent B Rodriguez, read Mr Murrays post again. He isnt bragging, he simply lists his different points, but calls them comments. ie: first comment, second comment, third comment and so on.

    Im sure you will accept your humble apology.

  • Comment number 30.

    Mr Murray I clearly did not read your post properly and feel rather silly please accept my appology, I jumped on a pet peeve of mine in a fit of anger and rage before fully reading your psot. Phil thank you for making me a better person, I feel we can all learn from my mistake and your teachings.

  • Comment number 31.

    " They earn about $700 a month as university graduates. "

    What did they graduate in, waiting on tables? A very fresh graduate in an exceptionally poorly paid sector might earn 2-3 times that amount. Those who've qualified in more sought after fields probably earn closer to 10 times that amount.

    If you don't know the country, don't pretend to be an expert.

  • Comment number 32.

    25> I understand you are in the travel industry so is my wife. Moreover for business reason, my company flies staff weekly within SA borders and overseas.
    This was written in december and vastly contradicts your assertion, current prices are vastly reduced now.
    650 GBP is the price my brother paid for Antanarivo (Madagascar) to Cape Town when booked in december, friends in France could not find anything for less than Euros 2000-2300 at the same time, less than half this today.
    PRICE ALWAYS increase closer to the date: fair comment if the availability is small. Both flights and hotels (except for JHB) prices have come down dramatically in the few weeks not the opposite. Call the new 4/5 stars hotels directly in Cape Town, you may pay less than in a backpackers had you booked 6 months ago.

    >28. prices in category 4 have always been around 14GBP
    however, FIFA recently released additionnal tickets at the same price but with reduced visibility because demand was so large.

    On a another note with the categories: they are flexible and the allocation to categories has been made according to demand (another FIFA disgraceful action). My cat4 tickets for Portugal-NKR would be a cat3 in other games....

  • Comment number 33.

    I don't know why people felt the need to reply with such angst.

    I was only trying to add to the article by including what knowledge I have. For reference, if you want to say I'm wrong about the climate in South Africa, then please do some research. The bulk of websites support what I'm saying in saying the average temperature is in South Africa is 17-18 degrees throughout June and July, and not the 25 someone picked out of thin air. So yes, my point 'does stand up' as the average temperature in England is significantly higher.

    And as for which place gets more sunshine in June/July? Then basic Geography should tell you that at that/this time of year the Earth is tilted towards the sun with the Northern Hemisphere getting the bulk of the sunshine. Unless of course you're trying to re-write Science?

    I don't want to make this debate about me but I would say that I made a genuine attempt to add to the discussion here while others clearly haven't - and in not being able to pick apart my comments (because they're all true), they've sorted to criticise me in underhand ways. I don't get that. I separated each comment out so that would be easier to read, not so people would be churlish.

  • Comment number 34.

    Good on a third world country like Australia for getting the fans to South Africa. Their global sporting standing is limited at the moment. I hope they can score at least one goal for their travelling fans.

  • Comment number 35.

    Bikou (32) ........ your experiences buying tickets for travel vary hugely than in the UK. The company I work for also has offices in SA and airlines market differently in different parts of the world. I repeat my advice to anybody in the UK, BOOK EARLY. Especially at busy times, for long haul travel it is never ever cheaper to book late and considerably more expensive in 100% of cases.

  • Comment number 36.

    I've never understood the whole way FIFA goes about deciding which country should host the world cup, or the IOC for the Olympics. I don't understand why there is always this massive emphasis on 'regenerating areas'... Do decision makers really think that one tournament lasting less than a month is going to impact on the area for many years once it's complete? I can't think of one good example where this has happened. In fact, there are places who've actually lost out as a result financially. The only people who win out are already rich developers who make more money out of cheap labour, pocket this profit, and keep this stored in 'some swiss bank account'. A few small businesses make a tiny bit of profit, but nothing in real terms. The losers are the locals who in many ways subsidise the tournament - think London Olympics, think London Council tax payments, think transport upgrades to parts of the network which arguably wouldn't need it versus parts that do and aren't going to get it because of this 'great spectacle'.

    The government instead, re-directs many funds which would go to worthwhile causes and sends this in the direction of people who will build stadia which will be used for what exactly, after the tournament? Someone has already said averages are 7,000. What's the point these people having these stadia which are structurally worth a lot, but in real terms no commercial value and no real use.

    The very simple point I was trying to make is that there are cheap tickets designed for the poorest which are unsold, while it sounds (according to this article) as those these authorities are trying to flog these more expensive tickets instead. The other point I was making was that the bulk of people not attending from outside south africa are ordinary fans. And that the low turn out isn't really to do with the corporate hospitality market which makes up a small fraction of the overall number.

  • Comment number 37.

    It’s always done my head in to read about the percentage of tickets allocated to “true fans”. That was until I won a competition through a certain mobile phone company and now I’m off to see England vs. Algeria in Cape Town with a mate! More corporate tickets please!! *GLOAT*

  • Comment number 38.

    In winter in South Africa you have an almost permanent High Pressure system in the interior which means cloudless skies. The air is cool during the day but it feels warm because of the sunshine. The UV levels are higher at altitude so one can get sunburnt despite the relative weakness of the winter sunshine. Make sure you use lip ice because a combination of dry air and sunshine can cause chapping of lips. People from the Northern Hemisphere will be enchanted by the night skies, particularly the views of the Milky Way, especially if you are some distance from a major city.

  • Comment number 39.

    31. At 11:56am on 09 Jun 2010, mmobi wrote:
    What did they graduate in, waiting on tables? A very fresh graduate in an exceptionally poorly paid sector might earn 2-3 times that amount. Those who've qualified in more sought after fields probably earn closer to 10 times that amount.

    If you don't know the country, don't pretend to be an expert.

    I admit I don't know the country but are you sure about those figures? A quick google sees someone claiming a teacher with a degree earns around £625 a month, and that was back in 2007. That's definitely closer to $700 a month than $1750, and a hell of a lot less than almost $7000 that you claim can be found by a graduate in a 'more sought after field'.

  • Comment number 40.

    I echo James Angus Sutherland comment about the night sky. It is simply breathtaking. We were down on the Garden Route a few years ago, where the air is very clear, and I remember one moonless night when you literally could see thousands of stars. You could clearly see the milky way.
    I have seen the night Sky from remote places in the Northern hemisphere, and the skies just don't compare.

  • Comment number 41.

    I'm all for booting the "prawn-sandwich" out of Sport (though it may reduce Premier League players' earnings), but surely the local football fan in South Africa cannot, unfortunately, afford to buy tickets ?

  • Comment number 42.

    #30 you are welcome, and a good man for accepting your mistake, indeed we can all learn from that :)

    #31, are you trying to tell me that its easy for university graduates in SA to find jobs earing 10 x $700 a month? So $7,000 a month, or $84,000 a year? In South Africa? Really? In England our national average wage i believe is about $30,000 a year. So why do so many South Africans move to England as they save more? Also you say its EASY in the worst jobs to find $2100 a month, or $25,200!!! Hahaha, sure it is. An economy way worse off than England. I'm a University graduate from England and in this recession i moved abroad to work, as i couldn't find anything paying much better than $2000 a month. Maybe you should learn something about your own country!

  • Comment number 43.

    BTW i am an English teacher in China, as are my friends, i look forward to your response #31, mmobi. Again, an apology will be adequate.

  • Comment number 44.

    Perhaps you are arguing in different currencies?

    1 US$ is 7.7 South African Rand- so if #31 is talking in Rand and Phil you are talking in US$ then the actual difference in your estimations is pretty slight.

    If not I’m off to Cape Town for the good life.

  • Comment number 45.

    Bit surprised there aren´t many French going, after all this was a French continent.
    But it´s a good development. This time there may be a few real fans in the stadiums.

  • Comment number 46.

    @33 / mr murray

    I think with the use of the questionable wikipedia you'll find the UK is only 4-3 degrees warmer with less sunlight (There is 50% more sunlight in Johannesurg than London in June). I'm not referring to daylight here. Also recall that the closer you are to the equator the less the days vary. Coming up to the winter solstice it is still ten and a half hour days in Johannesburg and ten hours in Cape Town. Once again you can get severely sunburnt in South Africa in winter. This is not feasible in England in winter without hyper-thermia. Remember that the sun is only 15 degrees further away during winter SA than it is in England during summer.

    I agree with you regarding the benefits of the football world cup but the public transport built is worthwhile in South Africa which is still segregated (i.e. the majority of poor south african's live far from where they work in areas designed for them in apartheid).

    The tourist revenue probably won't appear and it always costs at least 8-10 more than expected.
    So there is an element of people buying tickets that they can't truly afford and its Fifa who runs off with the cash instead of South Africa benefiting.

  • Comment number 47.

  • Comment number 48.

    I have to agree with #38 James Angus Sutherland. It also depends on where you are in the country, there is a big difference between Cape Town and Jo'burg...

    Agree about the milky way too, stunning!

  • Comment number 49.

    #42: I'm sorry but surely you're friends are lying to you or telling what they get after tax. $700 at today's exchange rate is roughly R5 400 or R64 500 pa what someone working semi-skilled at metrorail earns. I'd say its two to three times that if not more, I've heard of people started at $2700 with the right connections and credentials. And no you don't have the right credentials we're foreign and white. You can't know South Africa by having friends there... Graduates earn more in South Africa because unskilled labour gets screwed. Unlike the UK where a bus driver earns more than a graduate.

    Saffers save more because they don't have to pay for security, medical aid (private medical), petrol etc and you can do an almost menial job in England and earn quite well.

  • Comment number 50.

    The biggest reason for the flop in ticket sales is the extortionate pricing by airlines/hotels and FIFA ticketing.I caved in on the airfare having been trying since last October for a decent flight price. I paid £830 return for a direct flight from Heathrow via Manchester. The normal fare would be around £430. Ticket prices to countries outside SA are astronomical. £104 for first phase(1 game) to £560 for the final. I complained to FIFA`s website about the airline cartel including the one that they claim are their sponsors. Answer back, too insulting. Fortunately I am staying with family about twenty miles from the England camp.

  • Comment number 51.

    Moderator. Was my comment too honest?

  • Comment number 52.

    So you are telling me that for a graduate, fresh out of university, they earn between $25,000 - $84,000 a year? Ok, carry on. Because even in the UK you would have to be very lucky to fall into that category, fresh out of Uni. Obviously it depends on which sector you are in, but my guess is $22,000 would be a pretty fair estimate.

    I think my statement of $8400 earned (ok maybe this is after tax) will be nearer the mark.

    In China we pay no tax (well, 0.5%!), so our discussion was about where they were earning more. They said they were earning more here. I don't know why they would deliberately lie to me.

  • Comment number 53.

    Here shows a starting teacers salary INCLUDING bonuses would = less than $12,000. Take out tax, (i dont know what it is in South Africa) and i believe you will be nearer to $9500. So maybe im $1000 out, but its nearer than your $32,400 estimate!

  • Comment number 54.

    #52: I'm saying $17,000 - $25,000 in the private sector. $32,000 would be well connected with the right degree. I think we're slowly getting to the bottom of this. You're friends are teachers aren't they. A teacher working for a government school would get screwed, you're probably in the right ball park. A model C / semi-private school teacher would get more. At a private school (a public school here) a teacher would earn quite well depending on experience. The problems is you don't land private school jobs as a graduate.

  • Comment number 55.

    Phil, teacher salaries vary widely in South Africa depending on factors like, qualifications, work experience, primary, secondary or tertiary level teaching, government of private schools etc. A top government secondary/high school salary will be about R200000,00 (+- $26000)a year. Private sector high schools can be twice that salary. Teriary level salaries also vary wildly, depending if it's a government college, private college, university and of course qualifications and experience. Tertiary level jobs pay normally higher than secondary level jobs.Then on top of that there are many teachers that give private tuition and night classes. My sister is studying teaching and although she's not qualified she earns about R3000,00 a month. Once she's qualified her starting salary will be in the R10000,00 a month range depending where she end up working.

  • Comment number 56.

    How on earth is £130 per ticket be "connecting real fans with the beautiful game"? At that price, the real fans in South Africa are still being massively priced out!

  • Comment number 57.

    £130! You must be having a laugh if you think ticket prices like this are going to help connect the ordinary fan to football. That would be a prohibitive price to most fans in the UK. The world cup is not for the fans, football is not about the fans these days. It's all about making money, the fans come down very low on football's list of priorities. I'm going to watch my local non-league team next season for a fiver a game. I'm sick of the premier league rip-off. Well done to the Germans for getting their priorities right. The Premier League and the FA are too greedy to follow suit. Imagine - doing something for the fans - don't think so!!

  • Comment number 58.

    lets be honest guys if the 'ordinary'(as Mr Bond calls them) south-Africans (for the purposes of this comment, those living in the townships) want to raise £130 for a match they are going to look for the easy way-as the sure as hell aren't gonna have that much to spend in entertainment- which unfortunately may be theft. And it ends up with people like me, for whom £130 is not a great amount being abel to buy several world cup final tickets

  • Comment number 59.

    #37: "That [£130] would be a prohibitive price to most fans in the UK"
    I think not most people I know could easily afford that price and for most people in the developed world it would not be prohibitive

  • Comment number 60.

    Good blog!!!
    It's very refreshing to hear how ticketing allocation has materialised this year. I always feel that a large corporate turnout can contribute to a hollow atmosphere at times. It's great to see locals embracing the tournament, hopefully this will facilitate their integration.

  • Comment number 61.

    It would be good if all matches are filled to capacity otherwise it would be a waste. I think the pricing has to take into account the local salaries and conditions and I hope that FIFA has learnt something from this going to Brazil in 2014.

    Full time analysis

  • Comment number 62.

    #54, 55, ok guys, maybe some miscommunications. Like i said, they are fresh out of uni, so have no experience and we were talking basic salaries (and i guess they were talking net, not gross). We also weren't talking private lessons, as we do them here. So it was like the basic of basic pays.

    Anyway, the point is this, $200 for a ticket is a lot, even by English standards. I wonder how many tickets would sell in England at this price in the current climate? Liverpool fans are going mad at having to pay $50 a ticket! For $200 i could fly from England to Europe and have 3 days holiday!

  • Comment number 63.

    At 10:21pm on 08 Jun 2010, mr murray wrote:
    "i'd like to point out many 'ordinary' non-south african fans have been priced out of the market as well at the expense of specially subsidized tickets for locals. so really, your opening line about most world cups 'leaving ordinary supporters feeling like they are missing out' still rings true. just everywhere other than in south africa!"

    Most of your points are valid, to a point (which varies according to the point you are trying to make.

    Let me correct you on th point of ticket sales to South Africans, however ...

    While there were a few thousand tickets (spread betwen various group stage matches) supplied to the poor, semi-skilled workers who worked on the stadium building projects, there is not a case of thousands of tickets, originally meant for overseas fans, being sold to South Africans at discounted prices.

    If anything, the sales model conceived by FIFA made it more difficult for the "average South African" to obtain tickets. Besides the PRICE of the tickets, which are difficult to afford for most of the population - yes, even for the majority of the small white minority - the vast majority of the population has neither internet access, nor the ability to utilise it.

    This is why you see the crowds of people, some camping out for days, at the various sales offices trying to get their hands on tickets.

    South Africans, of all ethnic groups, are sports mad. And, despite what the overseas press like to have people believe, it is not only the black population who are football supporters.

    I have been lucky enough to get my hands on 2 tickets to a group stage match - $160 each, which equates to approximately SA R1,200 each, for normal run of the mill tickets - and will be happy just to be part of the World Cup. I know that I willnever be able to affordto travel overseas to see a match at any future world cup. To do so, with airlinecosts (probably over SA R10,000 per ticket for the cheapest)and the accommodation, food, match tickets - all at exchange rates of over SA R10 to the Euro - would be totally unaffordable.

    So please, stop harping on about South Africans having an opportunity to see the World Cup.

    We have not been subsidised, and if we now have access tomore tickets than the original FIFA allocation, it is simply because other countries did not sell their full allocation.

    I actually predicted, from the outset, that this would be the case.The reasons were simple, and obvious, enough - the time & cost of long distance travel, requiring high accommodation costs as well, coupled with the worldwide conomic meltdown, and the perception that to travel to SA was "dangerous".

    So, I am glad to have managed to obtain tickets to a match, despite the cost, but we have not taken tickets away from anyone who wanted them.

    If there are - or have been - any last minute discounted hospitality tickets on sale, that would be what any business organisation would do - a "fire sale" to move remaining stock which is about to expire and become worthless.

    If you have any doubts about the passion of South Africans for this World Cup, take a look at the Supersport & th Highveld websites (South African websites) and see the turnout of people showing their support for our National team, and for the World Cup in general !

    Enjoy watching it on TV.

  • Comment number 64.

    Reconnect with "ordinary" fans !? At £130 a pop the tickets are vastly overpriced for "ordinary" South Africans. Why don't they sell them at "local" match prices and get the real "ordinary" bums on seats. It's just another example of the bloated cash cow that football has become. Get rid of the suits that are milking us for every hard earned cent we make. Put a cap on player wages... get rid of agents.... take clubs off the stock exchange... and put them back where they belong! Fans are NOT being reconnected with the beautiful game. They are just hanging in there because of their love and passion for the game, despite the suits. When business recovers from it's self inflicted bout of greed, the seats will remain empty until 15 minutes into the second half, and teams will go back to recieving 5,000 tickets each for a 60'000 stadium ??? Reconnect with the "ordinary" fans ? Give me a break.

  • Comment number 65.

    You lot of ingnorant pessimistic whiners sitting at your computers are expecting to see a dusty lumpy pitch (just like Wembley), impromptu goal posts made of branches and string, goats and cattle grazing, broadcast in monochrome.
    The World Cup is going to be an amazing success, television viewers are going to very surprised. We are going to provide the world with an electrifying spectacle over the next month.
    Unlike you lot in Britain, we dont have social benefits and the Dole with the stultifying effect on the national energy. The South African economy does not reward sloth, Britain cherishes and encourages it. That is the difference between us, just compare our main stadium to nondescript Wembley with it's cabbage patch playing surface, and you will see what I mean. How many years (8 or 9) has it taken for you lot of unemployed socialists to create the mess called "Wembley"?
    Wait till your friends return from the World Cup and weep at what you missed.

  • Comment number 66.

    There is a lot more to see in South Africa than the Milky Way at night.
    If you open your eyes during the day you will see plenty of spectacular beautiful scenery, objects, people and animals.

  • Comment number 67.

    I personally chose to stay away for two reasons: first of all, I may be wrong here, but I don't view South Africa as a country with deep footballing traditions (rugby yes, football no). That doesn't mean they're not up to the event, but if I have to choose between SA 2010 or Brazil 2014 (and let's face it, these World Cup trips are by no means cheap), I would rather save up and wait for Brazil, as I expect that will be a whole different level of passion.

    Second, I cannot support an event which will undoubtedly come back and haunt a country financially for years. Whilst I appreciate that the World Cup will push the government to build new infrastructures (and that will definitely be a plus for locals), it will also push the country to invest hundreds of millions in stadiums which will never again be filled to their max capacity. Hardly what I call responsible development. For countries like Brazil, who will continue to fill stadiums long after a World Cup, or other countries who already have enough stadiums to host a World Cup, that makes sense, but to see another country struggle after a big competition (like Greece after the Olympics for example - how is that country doing now economically?), that makes no sense.

  • Comment number 68.

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  • Comment number 69.

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  • Comment number 70.

    Its crazy to think how the economic crisis can influence even the world of sports and who is able to attend. I never stopped to think it would have such vast effects.

    It is good however that this is such a popular event and will still do quite well. Its great to hear that fans we given a better chance to reconnect with this beautiful game.

  • Comment number 71.

    The economy plays a huge part in the number of people that are actually able to follow the sports that they enjoy, raising prices in both commodities and more in relation to the fans, event spectatorship.

    I read a post about the newly raised prices at some of the Premier League clubs this coming season, some prices as high as 10% higher than the past season.

    The article i read was blog post on which told of how Arsenal and Manchester City had increased their home fixture prices by as much as 10% while Manchester United only increased theirs by £1.

    Football is becoming more commercial every passing season.

  • Comment number 72.

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  • Comment number 73.

    “On Monday, 38,000 tickets - which were earmarked for hospitality lounges - went on sale labelled "beer and biltong" seats. For £130, fans can buy tickets to games which include snacks and drinks.”
    According to Fifa, the cheapest ticket cost 55 Euro for Category 3 tickets. Prices of tickets increase from the lowest category going up and from the group matches to the final. The cheapest ticket for the final is going for 275 Euros.
    I think it is an impossible venture when the average monthly salary of many football-going fans in South Africa does not exceed 200 Euros.

  • Comment number 74.

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