Some 100,000 World Cup tickets have been sold in the first 24 hours of the final phase, and the semifinals and final are sold out.
FIFA announced Friday that 29 of the 64 matches are sold out. That includes all games in the coastal cities of Cape Town and Durban.
“We are very pleased with the interest and with the latest figures,” FIFA ticketing subcommittee chairman Horst Schmidt said.
The opening game is also sold out between host South Africa and Mexico at Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium on June 11.
FIFA said tickets were still available for one quarterfinal and the third and fourth playoffs, as well as a selection of final 16 and group games.
Some less popular matches, like South Korea vs. Greece at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth and Paraguay vs. New Zealand in the northern city of Polokwane, are yet to sell out tickets in any of the four seat categories.
Seven matches still have unsold tickets in all four ticket categories, including the lowest priced one for locals. Another eight games have only sold out the cheapest tickets.
FIFA did not say how many tickets had been sold in each category, only that some were “available”, some had “few tickets” and some were “unavailable.”
Local organizers have said they will ensure that all World Cup games are full to avoid shots of empty seats on international broadcasts.
As a result, they may be forced to give away free tickets to schools or charities. That would have an impact on the economic benefit of the World Cup for the local committee, which is counting on much of its revenue from ticket sales.
The estimated $3.3 billion that the World Cup makes from commercial rights and marketing goes to FIFA.
FIFA and the local organizing committee have previously acknowledged worries over certain “low interest” games where tickets are not selling.
Foreign ticket sales, particularly in Europe, have also been disappointing. Fewer than 350,000 people are expected to travel to the country for Africa’s first World Cup, down from initial estimates of 450,000.
The final ticket batch was released Thursday, and fans in South Africa could buy over the counter for the first time. However, there were technical problems with the ticketing systems.
Police were called to at least three centers to calm angry fans who faced lengthy delays.
Fans can make purchases at 11 ticket centers and a network of 600 bank branches. Supermarkets across South Africa will start selling World Cup tickets on Monday.
FIFA was criticized for waiting so long to simplify the process for local fans, who have low incomes and are unfamiliar with buying tickets on the Internet.
Organizers are looking to sell the final 500,000 of the 2.7 million total tickets during the latest phase.
Source: The Associated Press.