We did our research.
Okay, we did our research and then some. A portion of our party (read: Alyson) tends to be mildly obsessive in her over preparedness.
We chose a two-week period during the tournament, which lasts an entire month, in which to request tickets. We elected for the middle two weeks of the tournament for a few reasons: with the understanding that obtaining tickets for the first match would be nearly impossible, wanting to be present for some of the Group Stage matches (the largest number of games is within the first round, as all 32 qualifying teams are playing games – increasing our odds for getting tickets) as well as with the goal of landing a few games in the first knockout stage, the Round of 16.
Another factor to consider was the number of cities/stadiums we would request tickets at. South Africa is a relatively large country. Taking flights, or arranging other means of transportation, to games at a large variety of the 10 World Cup stadiums just didn’t make sense. Having the time and the resources to see a games in Cape Town and Durban and Pretoria would be ideal. Unfortunately, so much travel within the country just isn’t in the cards for this trip.
Our goal was to see as many games as possible. In order to facilitate that, we elected to stay in Johannesburg for the duration of the trip.
Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city, has two World Cup host stadiums within its limits: Ellis Park and Soccer City. Two other World Cup stadiums are day trips from Johannesburg: Loftus Versfeld Stadium, situated in Tshwane/ Pretoria, and Rustenburg’s Royal Bafokeng Stadium. We limited our ticket request to these four stadia.
Lauren requested two tickets for eight different matches. Alyson requested two tickets for eight matches.
There were a few factors to take into consideration when determining which eight matches we would each request:
- avoiding overlapping days – eliminating the conundrum of having to choose between two matches and eliminating the need to find a way to sell tickets upon our arrival.
- avoiding overlapping games – eliminating the necessity of going into the ticket scalping business, should we be lucky enough to both win tickets.
- requesting tickets at a variety of price points – as nice as the Category 1 (described by FIFA as being located alongside the pitch.) tickets may be, justifying the price ($160/ticket in the group stage, $200/ticket in the Round of 16) for every match we planned to attend was a bit of a stretch. That’s not to say that we didn’t splurge and request a handful of Category 1 tickets. We’re entitled American brats, damnit, and we deserve it.
When we ordered tickets, there might have been a spreadsheet. And a schedule. And a lot of highlighting. And maybe some copious notes. Perhaps a phone conference or two.
Yes, tickets were requested using a classic display of Type A nerdom. Thank you for asking.
And it worked.
Take that, haters!
FIFA held the first ticket lottery on April 15, 2009.
Following the ticket lottery, there were a few days of anxiety. Obsessive email checking. Logging in to FIFA’s website on an hourly basis. Frequent checks of credit ard statements. (By Alyson, anyway. Lauren generally has better things to do than be neurotic. Like play a lot of hockey.)
Eventually, FIFA released the ticket lottery results and Alyson could breathe again.
Alyson was successful for 4 of her 8 requests; Lauren won the right to purchase a pair of seats at 3 of the matches she requested.
Serendipitiously, our tickets fell into a neat 13-day timeframe.
And that is how the World Cup dream became a World Cup reality.
Non-refundable, non-sellable, show-your-passport-to-gain-entry-to-the-stadium reality.