Even with seven years to prepare for the 2014 World Cup, it looks like Brazil is going to wait until the last possible moment until everything’s in place. And that could actually be the best-case scenario. Since South America’s largest nation doesn’t have all of its World Cup Stadiums ready it means FIFA doesn’t know how many tickets it should be selling to many of the matches.
The country has failed to meet the FIFA-imposed deadlines on a few venues and the world’s largest sporting event is scheduled to kick off on June 12 in Sao Paulo, which of course is now less than two months away. Time is ticking and according to Thierry Weil, the marketing director for FIFA, it is becoming very frustrating for the world’s governing body of soccer and fans alike.
FIFA wanted all 12 Brazilian stadiums to be ready to go by the end of December 2013, but only half a dozen of them were finished and ready. And these were the six venues that were used last summer for the Confederations Cup tournament. Just three of the remaining six stadiums have been completed and time is quickly running out.
According to Weil, “We can't say exactly how many tickets there will be because we don't know the exact number of seats in the stadiums. We have held back seven per cent of the tickets until we really know how many tickets will be available.”
This won’t sit well with FIFA if there will be unsold seats for their prime showcase since making a profit at the World Cup every four years is one of the organization’s major goals. However, it isn’t just the stadiums that haven’t been completed on schedule. There are still several other construction projects that are well behind schedule. These include an assortment of infrastructure jobs such as roads and airports.
Several Brazilian cities have decided to cut back on improving roads, railways and bus lines and at least one of the country’s airports will be building a temporary terminal building made out of some type of tarpaulin structure. In fact, some cities have scrapped their construction plans entirely. However, the major concern for Weil and the rest of FIFA, are the stadiums, especially the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo which will host the opening game between Brazil and Croatia.
This venue is supposed to be able to seat 48,000 fans, but 20,000 temporary seats will be added for the six World Cup games the venue will host and they’re still being built. Stadiums in the host cities of Cuiaba and Curitiba are also incomplete with Curitiba’s venue still waiting for an additional 27,000 seats to be installed.
Weil hopes to have the exact number of seats that are going to be available by mid-May and said FIFA will then hold a last-minute sale as soon as they know. “At some point in May more tickets will go on sale with the completion of the stadiums. It's just taking time.” So far FIFA has sold over 2.7 million seats for the World Cup’s 64 games with 58 per cent being sold to Brazilian fans. There are also 200,000 tickets currently still up for grabs.