World Cup tickets for $15 as fans turn backs on unpopular games

World Cup tickets are being listed on the secondary market for as little as $15.48, 89 percent below face value, as soccer fans snub games outside Brazil’s southern cities.

The cheapest access to a game on Viagogo is for a ticket to the June 24 game between Greece and Ivory Coast at Fortaleza’s Castelao stadium, which has a face value of $135. Tickets to see three-time champion Germany at the same venue in northeastern Brazil are available at 44 percent below face value.

Construction delays may be affecting the resale market, said Oliver Wheeler, a spokesman in London for Geneva-based ticket exchange Viagogo. The monthlong tournament opens in two weeks with Brazil against Croatia in Sao Paulo, one of three stadiums that remain unfinished. A tent will be used at Fortaleza airport during the tournament because a new terminal won’t be ready in time.

“Some of the ticket prices have been directly related to the confidence in the infrastructure,” Wheeler said.

Brazil’s government, which is spending $11 billion on the event, spread matches to 12 locations across the country and most bargains are for games in northern and northeastern cities.

Flooding in the Amazonian city of Manaus this week “has definitely impacted on people’s confidence” for games there, Wheeler said. A ticket for the meeting between Honduras and Switzerland on June 25 in Manaus can be purchased for $27.27.

At the same time, tickets for games in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and for the knockout stages, are being listed above their official prices. The cheapest ticket advertised for the July 13 final at Rio’s Maracana stadium is $5,100, more than 10 times its $440 face value.

Wheeler said he expects prices to drop further in the coming days.

“At the very beginning you will always find chancers trying to list their tickets at high prices; as you get closer the true market values become apparent,” he said. “These tickets will soften, there’s no doubt about that.”

Fans buying tickets from resellers may be taking a risk. FIFA said it’s the only authorized reseller and doesn’t allow ticket holders to charge a premium. The governing body has said it will scrap tickets if it can identify sellers on other platforms.

Viagogo doesn’t offer World Cup tickets in countries such as the U.K. and Brazil, where resale is illegal. [Bloomberg]

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