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Assigned seating at the World Cup
July 13, 2014 6:19 PM   Subscribe

For a given game in the World Cup elimination rounds, spectators have to buy their tickets, and presumably have a seat assigned, before they know which teams will be playing. It seems like this would result in the stadium having fans of various loyalties more or less randomly scattered about. But on TV, they often show blocks of fans of one team seated together. How do they assign seats to World Cup ticketholders to ensure that fans are seated together? I have some guesses but I'd love to hear from someone who knows what method(s) FIFA actually uses.
posted by Paul the Octopus to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Typically I think the fan clubs or country football association have an arrangement to take a block of seats should their team make that match. Then the fan club will distribute the seats to members internally in the week prior to the match without the stadium needing to be involved in allocating that seating.
posted by dave99 at 7:01 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


This is what I remember of Euro 2008 ticketing (so not run by FIFA, but a similarly structured tournament):
- you could apply for tickets for all of a country's group stage matches or for all of a country's matches until they were eliminated, meaning there were effectively multiply-allocated tickets until it was known who was playing in which match later on (I can't remember how payment worked); I assume these are the people who end up seated in a block
- you could apply for individual match/group tickets, I think
- you could only apply for tickets associated to one country (and I think you had to choose to either apply with that country or apply for individual match/group tickets without knowing who was playing)
- you had to provide a passport number, but I think this was to filter out people banned from stadiums, not to sort seats; your passport did not have to match your country selection

All this happened before qualification was complete--I applied for England group stage tickets and England didn't qualify.
posted by hoyland at 8:15 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


Thanks to you both. Dave99, do you mean that FIFA has an arrangement with each of the 32 teams to buy out a particular block of seats if that team reaches a particular match? Apart from those "reserved" blocks, are the rest of the seats in the stadium allocated without regard to team loyalty?
posted by Paul the Octopus at 8:53 PM on July 13


Yes typically FIFA will organise block ticket allocations with each of the country organizations, who then onsell them to fan clubs and travel agents who have specific "fan" packages by arrangement with FIFA.

They would have a number of other categories of tickets:
- freebie tickets for FIFA officials, local VIPs, and guests.
- corporate package tickets
- tickets allocated to sponsors e.g. Budweiser
- finally (!) general admission tickets for the public.
posted by dave99 at 12:38 AM on July 14


There were also team specific packages sold similar to hoylands Euro experience. Fans of one team could be seated together this way. If your team didn't advance your ticket follows the opponent in the next match. Argentina and Germany were heavily favored, so fans had a good chance of being in a block to the end. There were also a bunch of tickets that were only released right before each game first-come first-serve. So fans from each country would be able to buy them then.

Bear in mind, network cameras are really good at finding fan blocks. So it may appear there were more than were actually there.
posted by bluefly at 1:02 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


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