This year’s Women’s World Cup has been a success in just about every area except ticket sales, with many games played before rows of empty seats.
Friday’s quarterfinal between the United States and host France in Paris will not be one of those games.
As of early Tuesday morning, the cheapest ticket for the sold-out match on secondary ticket seller StubHub was 419 euros, or $477.04 in U.S. currency. Things escalate quickly from there, with seats in VIP sections close to the field going for more than $3,000.
For comparison’s sake, tickets still are available on FIFA’s website for Thursday’s quarterfinal between Norway and England in Le Havre, with a get-in price of $17.08 and the most expensive category of tickets still available for $64.90 each. Tickets also are available through FIFA at all price points for Saturday’s Germany-Sweden quarterfinal in Rennes, though the other quarterfinal that day in Valenciennes — featuring the Netherlands and its strong contingent of supporters — appears to be sold out (the get-in price on StubHub for that match is $55.79).
FIFA already has announced that the semifinals on July 2-3 and final on July 7 are sold out. Tickets are available for the third-place match on July 6, however.
The World Cup has been a smash hit in terms of television ratings. In this country, Fox Sports is reporting record numbers for the tournament, most recently Sunday’s round-of-16 match between France and Brazil, which it says was the most-watched Women’s World Cup match ever that didn’t involve the United States. Overall, group-stage television viewership was up 17 percent compared with four years earlier.
In the host nation, meanwhile, the France-Brazil match was the most-watched television program of the year on TF1, France’s most popular network. Sunday’s round-of-16 match between England and Cameroon drew 6.9 million viewers on BBC One in the United Kingdom, breaking its record for a women’s soccer match, set earlier in the tournament during an England-Scotland group-stage match.
But many of the group-stage matches were played in front of stadiums that were barely half full, if that, and the issue has lingered into the initial stages of the knockout round. While stadiums were full or mostly full for Monday’s round-of-16 matches — USA-Spain and Canada-Sweden — only 12,229 were on hand at 36,000-seat Allianz Riviera in Nice for Norway-Australia even though the game took place on a Saturday.
Many have faulted FIFA’s feeble promotion of the Women’s World Cup in France itself for the dispiriting attendance, along with a pretournament announcement that made it seem as if few tickets were still available, perhaps discouraging interested fans from buying them.
But the USA-France match — featuring the world’s preeminent world soccer power against a strong team from the host nation — will not have that problem. As noted by ESPN, ticket prices for this year’s quarterfinal seem likely to top the secondary-market prices for the World Cup final four years ago between the United States and Japan in Vancouver, B.C. According to SeatGeek.com figures, the average price for a secondary-market ticket for that game was $368.