Alyson’s Advice: Navigating the Ticket Maze

The trick to planning a trip to the World Cup, is seems, is making a plan of attack and making a plan of attack early.  Very, very early. 
 
Let me state the obvious: if you want to go to the World Cup, you want to see a few games. In order to see games, you need to have tickets.
 
Scoring match tickets is the complicated, essential first step.
 
Due to the structure of ticket sales, you should consider committing to your trip 16 months in advance.  …unless you’re insane an adventurous soul who has no problem with jumping on a plane to a random city in a random country, trusting that you’ll be able to buy tickets when you’re there.
 
FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, is basically run by a sketchy gang of tricksters and thieves. Tickets are: nonrefundable, nontransferable and must be picked up in South Africa during the tournament.
 
Take that, scalpers!
 
And take that, anyone who has even the slightest doubt of their ability to attend the World Cup!
 
You’re stuck with what you buy. 
 
When tickets are first opened up for purchase, the World Cup schedule is very general.  Teams have not been drawn into their groups.  Buying tickets to a game between E1 and E3 means pretty much nothing. Unless you’re buying a team package (requesting all of the games that England, for example, is playing in), you’re requesting games based solely on the location and the date. 
 
Tickets are available in five phases.  The ticketing process changes ever-so-slightly as the phases progress. 
 
In round one, applicants enter a lottery.  Requests are permitted for up to eight matches.
 
In round two, a certain number of tickets are released on a first-come, first-served basis.  You still, however, have no idea what teams you’ll be watching.  
 
Round three is identical to round two: a random lottery.  Round three, however, opens up just after the draw.  If you’re applying for tickets in the group phases, you know exactly what teams you’re going to see (should you be lucky enough to score tickets).  If you’re applying tickets for the later rounds, you’re still not going to know what teams are playing, but you’ll have devoted hours of your life to studying each group and reading the analysis of the pundits to make an educated guess about teams will be there.  Don’t get too attached: sports are unpredictable. 
 
Tickets in round four and five are also sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
 
A few friendly suggestions from someone who has taken a ride on the World Cup ticket roller coaster: 
 
Read up. Know what you’re committing to before purchasing tickets. FIFA is forever changing the ticketing process. What is true for South Africa 2010 ticketing may not be true for Brazil 2014.
 
Determine what you want. Do you want to see a certain number of matches? Do you want to see games in certain cities? Do you absolutely need to see a certain team or a certain match?
 
Lastly, unless you’re a complete soccer snob, keep a bit of perspective. Every match will be enjoyable.

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One response to “Alyson’s Advice: Navigating the Ticket Maze

  1. Pingback: Ticket Lottery: Round 1 | Barging In On The Beautiful Game

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