World Cup tickets soar to $20,000 and FIFA officials don’t like it


The Castelao stadium stands empty in Fortaleza, Brazil. (Felipe Dana/AP)

What $20,000 can buy you these days: a down payment on a modest condo, a decent car or a single ticket to the World Cup final in Rio via the ticket exchange site Viagogo. Which would you choose?

Luckily, FIFA officials don’t think you should have to. They’re threatening to crack down on the exorbitant prices currently being offered on the secondary market by nullifying their sales. “FIFA is the only authorized reseller and doesn’t allow ticket holders to charge a premium, and officials have said they will scrap tickets if they can identify sellers on other platforms,” Bloomberg reports.

But ticket resellers such as StubHub and Viagogo, a Geneva-based company, are protesting. They claim they’re providing an essential service. Oliver Wheeler, a spokesman for Viagogo, told Bloomberg:

“We abide by local law and, in the vast majority of territories, it’s legal to sell tickets and that might be for more or less than you originally paid.”

“More or less” is a bit of a stretch, however, because no one originally paid $20,000 for a ticket to the World Cup final. Or $9,335 — the bargain-basement price currently being offered on StubHub for the same Category 1 ticket as Viagogo. The face value for that category of ticket, the best option available, is $990, according to FIFA’s official Web site.

What do you think of the price hikes? Should FIFA be allowed to impose caps on the prices or should the free market be allowed to run amok?

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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Marissa Payne · April 30

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