Confed Cup hoping for ticket sales surge

JOHANNESBURG - South African organisers plan bulk sales and a big internal marketing drive to lift flagging ticket sales for June's Confederations Cup, the test event being held ahead of the 2010 World Cup finals.

South Africa's 2010 Organising Committee on Tuesday proposed plans to sell group tickets to companies and fan clubs to boost poor sales for the tournament, which is being held from June 14-28.

Chief executive officer Danny Jordaan said plans had been approved by FIFA after meetings in Zurich on Tuesday.

"We want to encourage companies and fan clubs to buy in bulk and we will engage the host cities to run more promotions," he told Reuters in a telephone interview after making presentations to two separate FIFA meetings.

"The general problem is that South Africans have a culture of buying tickets at the last moment."

FIFA have received applications for only some 200,000 of the 640,000 tickets available for the Confederations Cup, according to officials.

This is despite the event boasting a field that includes World Cup winners Italy, Euro 2008 winners Spain and South American champions Brazil.

Jordaan said latest figures for 2010 World Cup ticket sales were much more positive.

"We now have as many applications for tickets as there are available in the first sales phase," he said

There are some 700,000 tickets on sale in the first phase. Applications for tickets opened last month and will run until the end of March after which a ballot in mid-April will determine the allocation.

The procedure has been criticised as too complicated for the South African market. The cheapest World Cup ticket is almost 10 times the price of admission to a domestic premier league match.

Jordaan said it was a concern that 70 percent of applications received over the internet had come from outside the host country.

"That means that if we were to play the World Cup tomorrow, 70 percent of the spectators would be foreigners. There needs to be more interest from South Africans," he said.

When Germany opened the first phase of its ticket sales for the 2006 finals, some six million applications were received.

Earlier this month, the South African government said it was concerned not enough was being done to ensure more local ticket sales.

The World Cup finals are being hosted at 10 venues across South Africa from June 11 to July 11 next year.