Confederations Cup tickets unsold as Russian broadcasters reluctant to join the party

By Samindra Kunti

April 6 – With 72 days left until the kick-off of the 2017 Confederations Cup, less than a third of the event’s tickets have been sold. The domestic TV rights for the tournament and the World Cup finals also remain problematic.

On Wednesday FIFA concluded the first-come, first-served sales phase for the Confederations Cup and disclosed that just 211,745 tickets have been sold for the tournament in June. In total, 695,000 tickets are available for the general public.

The majority of ticket requests have come from the host country, according to FIFA. Chilean fans have expressed a particular requesting more than 7,111 tickets so far.  Ticket sales will restart on April 19 when the ‘Last Minute Sales’ phase kicks off via FIFA’s official website.

The sales figures are clearly disappointing. At present, tickets are still available for all 16 matches, including the opening match, the final and all three of the host nation’s matches.

Tickets prices range from $70 in the group stages to $245 for the final. Russian citizens can enjoy a special category, with the cheapest ticket starting at 960 Rubles ($16). St Petersburg will host both the opening match and the final at the brand new Zenit Arena, with a capacity of 68,134.

With Russians fans not purchasing tickets en masse, they may well miss out all together on the tournament. The domestic TV rights for the World Cup warm-up event haven’t been sold yet, the result of a larger stand-off between the governing body and Russian broadcasters over the broadcast rights for the 2018 World Cup.

State-run TV channels have refused to meet FIFA’s target price of $120 million, more than three times what the country’s TV companies paid to air the previous World Cup in 2016 in Brazil, according to Bloomberg.

FIFA has already rejected a joint bid from Channel 1, VGTRK and Match TV, the trio of state-controlled channels that broadcast last year’s European football championship.

As time goes by, advertising opportunities for broadcasters will diminish, making it more difficult for FIFA to sell the rights. In Brazil, FIFA signed a deal with TV Globo eight years before the 2014 World Cup.

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