Monthly Archives: November 2013

Ticket Lottery: Pre-Draw Analysis

And you thought I was through with the obscure ticket analysis!

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Matches we have tickets for:
Match 24 – D4 v D2 – Recife / Category 2
Match 34 – A2 v A3 – Recife / Category 2
Match 39 – D4 v D1 – Natal / Category 1
Match 45 – G4 v G1 – Recife / Category 3

Matches we’re still trying to buy tickets for:
Match 52 – 1D v 2C – Recife

We won’t know what teams we will be seeing in Brazil until the Final Draw, which takes place this coming Friday, December 6. It’s actually sort of fun buying tickets without knowing; it makes the day of the Final Draw a very, very exciting one. And, truthfully, any World Cup game is an enjoyable World Cup game. Some just happen to be a little more exciting than others.

We can parse out some details, based on the schedule.

1. We’ll be seeing two seeded teams, the number 1 seed in Group D (Match 39) and the number 1 seed in Group G (Match 45.)

The seeded teams have already been determined. They are:
Brazil, Spain, Germany, Argentina, Columbia, Belgium, Switzerland, Uruguay.

Brazil, as the host, is slotted into the A1 position. Because of this, we know we won’t be seeing Brazil.We will definitely see two other teams on the list of seeded teams, however.

2. We will watch a game (Match 34) featuring teams from Brazil’s group. Theoretically, the match could play a role in how/if Brazil progresses past the Group Stage. Seeing as how they’re the host and, well, Brazil that potentially makes things exciting.

3. We see team D4 play twice, in Match 24 and Match 39. Would it be appropriate to hope that USA draws slot D4?

4. We’re seeing three of the four (D1, D2, D4) teams from Group D play. Plus, ticket gods willing, we will also see the team that finishes atop D play in the round of 16.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Group D is the 2014 World Cup’s Group of Death, okay? Okay.

Ticket Lottery: Round 1.5

And then on Monday, November 11, I got up at 5:55 am to buy more tickets.

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And then on Monday, November 11, as expected, the FIFA ticketing website was all jammed up and buying tickets was impossible. (It happens every time FIFA offers tickets on a first come, first served basis.)

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FIFA’s website was saying “you’re in the queue, don’t refresh the website” but a little bit of internet research inspired me to refresh the website a few hundred times and, a good 90 minutes into the sale, I got to see what tickets were available in the First Come, First Served sales phase.

Not a whole lot.

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You would scroll down the list of matches and they mostly indicated that none were available. Occasionally, a match would show up as having very limited tickets. If you were interested in those tickets, you would click through to the game and oftentimes, by the time you got to the page where you would purchase your tickets, they were gone. Both of the matches we wanted tickets for were showing that the tickets were unavailable. It just happened that, while browsing tickets for the match in Natal, the ticket availability changed from “none available” to “limited quantity” at just the right moment.

The website indicated that there were Category 1 and Category 3 tickets available. I panicked for a moment before snatching up the Category 1 tickets. Go big or go home, right?

photo5I kept hoping that tickets for the Round of 16 match (#52) would pop up as available in much the same way but they never did.

Being that they’re tickets for a knockout round match, I assume these will be tricky, but not impossible, to obtain.

We’ll just keep trying in subsequent ticketing rounds. Or buy them from a nice, reasonable scalper on the streets of Recife.

Four matches down, one to go.

Ticket Lottery: Round 1

Once we determined our World Cup home base, it was time to tackle the next task in our road to Brazil: submitting our request for tickets.

First, we honed in on the matches we wanted to attend.

We approached our ticket requests much the same way we did in 2010. Basically, we were looking for a two-week period where we could see the maximum number of matches in Recife and Natal, preferably including a Round of 16 game.

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As was the case for the 2010 World Cup, FIFA is running multiple ticket sales periods.

The first round of ticketing ran August 20-October 10, 2013.

There was this big, ridiculous, needless rush for tickets on August 20. Fools. Everyone, regardless of if they submitted their ticket requests on August 20 or October 10 or somewhere in between, has an equal chance of winning (the right to purchase) tickets in the lottery.

We took our time and finally got around to submitting our request for tickets on October 5.

And then you wait.

And wait.

And wait.

FIFA doesn’t set an exact date for when they’ll run the lottery, just that it will be completed by the start of the next ticketing round, which makes the whole process more excruciating for the anxious traveling fan of international soccer.

On November 1, my credit card was charged. (Following a few annoying phone calls to the credit card company to pre-approve foreign charges.) We could tell by the amount that we didn’t get tickets to all of the matches that we had requested, but we would have to wait for FIFA to post our lottery results until we knew exactly where we were successful.

Which didn’t happen until November 7.

It was a long week of waiting.

Here is how it worked out (again, just click on the image to enlarge it.):
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We ended up with tickets to three of the five matches that we requested (regarding our 60% success rate, Katie said “that’s a passing grade!”), being downgraded to cheaper seats in two of those matches.

For Match 24, we’ll be sitting in Category 2 seats instead of the Category 1 tickets we requested.

For Match 45, we’ll be sitting in Category 3 seats instead of the Category 2 tickets we requested.

We were denied tickets to the match in Natal. We were also denied tickets to the Round of 16 match in Recife. But that’s what subsequent ticketing rounds are for: continuing to beef up your match offerings.

As of the conclusion of the Random Selection Draw period: we have secured tickets to only to group-round matches, only in Recife.

We’ll see what the subsequent ticketing rounds bring us.

Home Sweet Home

6099Brazil is significantly larger than South Africa and the distance between World Cup host cities is significantly larger, too. It was a bit harder deciding on a city to base ourselves out of for this World Cup.

While in South Africa, staying in Johannesburg was so logical: three stadia in and around the city and a fourth just a couple of hours away.

There isn’t that obvious, convenient city to base ourselves out of in Brazil. The two largest and most well-known cities, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, aren’t hosting all that many matches and aren’t significantly more convenient to other host cities. There was also the concern that Rio and São Paulo would attract the most visitors, making it harder to find hotels and harder to secure tickets.

We settled on Recife, which is in northeastern Brazil. Recife will host five games, including a Round of 16 match, and it is less than five hours from Natal, where another four matches will be held.

And check out the view.

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I have a hard time believing that anything in Brazil could match the experience that we had on our South African safari.

But I’m very willing to give it a try.

We are going to Brazil.

We are going to Brazil.index

We are going to Brazil.

We are going, we are going, we are going to Brazil.

(Just a little song in case you were wondering.)

In comparison to where we were in the planning process for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, we’re probably a good six months behind.

What we have: tickets to four of the five matches we plan to attend.

What we don’t have: accommodations, airfare, game-day transport, off-day plans, working knowledge of Portuguese, coordinated outfits, etc.

What I am not: particularly worried about how this is all going to come together.

This is much easier the second time around.