On Tuesday, August 20 at 12 noon European time, the first tickets went on sale for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The number of tickets demanded in just the first 24 hours shocked even those who had predicted massive sales. Over 2.3 million tickets were requested in just the first day, as FIFA tried desperately to manage the huge demand from fans all over the world trying to get to Brazil.
The protests that erupted in Brazil earlier this year, with over a million people taking to the streets, have since been quelled. Most of the stadiums are ready, while a few are being worked upon tirelessly to beat the deadline for the start of the tournament. The sponsorships and TV broadcasting deals have also been signed and finalized. For now, all looks set for the Brazil World Cup to live up to all the hype it has generated.
The first phase of sales for next year's tournament runs from now until October 10. Approximately 3.3 million tickets in total will be made available to the general public for purchase for the different matches of the tournament. FIFA said the most requests have so far come in from Brazil, Argentina, the USA, Chile, and England. FIFA has already received more than 372,000 ticket requests for the opening match in Sao Paulo, to be played on June 12, 2014, and more than 344,000 for the final, to be played on July 13 at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
Earlier this year there was widespread anxiety about the protests that broke out in Brazil, with locals protesting the government's massive spending on the World Cup while it ignored local problems. The Brazilians demanded more than any other thing renewed government attention towards education and health. Since then, however, the government has come out, met with the leaders of the protests, and put in place a renewed strategy to facilitate their demands. Dilma Rousseff, the president, offered a “national pact" whose points were: a constituent assembly to consider political reform; making corruption a felony (today it is a misdemeanor); a promise to invest 50 billion reais ($23 billion) in city transport; more spending on health and education; and contradicting that somewhat, a reiteration of the importance of fiscal responsibility.
There has also been a fair bit of anxiety that the stadiums won't be ready by the time the tournament kicks off. Approaching deadlines in a lazy manner, however, seems to be a national way of doing things and the international federation has already quarreled with Brazilian authorities for years about that. Just a few months ago Brazil hosted the Confederations Cup tournament, which is considered to be a general rehearsal for the World Cup, and the story was very similar. They started late, but by the deadline the Brazilians did what they were supposed to do. Six stadiums in which games are to be played have already hosted international soccer matches in the Confederations Cup and they will be used again in the World Cup. They seem quite ready.
Hence, with ticket sales skyrocketing and local authorities doing everything in their power to make the 2014 World Cup a success, it all looks good for Brazil and for the millions around the world waiting anxiously for the tournament to kick off.