Sponsors' Tickets to the World Cup
I could probably spend about an hour writing a vituperative piece on all the inequalities of the Worlld Cup's ticket distribution system. The Observer's been waging a campaign against the current scheme that sees just 8% of tickets going to the fans from each country in any given match. Sponsors, meanwhile, share 16% of the tickets, with a further 11% going to hospitality seats.
As usual, the same old canards are coming out about how this time will be different and you'll have names and so on printed on the ticket preventing resale. As if that's going to stop anything. We all know that come fifteen minutes before the start of a fixture with twenty thousand fans still to get in, no turnstile is going to be checking anything apart from whether you have a genuine ticket in your hand.
But that's not what I really wanted to write about here. The various sponsors like to point out that many of their tickets actually do find their way into the hands of fans through competitions. My own employer is running a series of such competitions (there are cars to be won too!).
Budweiser's been running a promotion for a while that involves you sending in photos of yourself showing how much you love football. And Coke has just started a campaign that, er, involves you sending in photos of yourself showing how much you love football.
But I was amazed to see the new McDonalds (warning, annoying sound kicks in at this site) competition. Throughout every hour of May, they're giving away a pair of tickets to various, unspecified matches. Great. But right up front is the fact that the tickets do not include accommodation or travel! Now I've no doubt organising hundreds of trips in this way would be a logistical nightmare as well as very costly. But giving someone a pair of tickets to a game in Munich and telling them at this late stage that they've got to make their own way, and sort out their own accommodation is actually pretty poor.
Make no mistake, if someone were to offer me a pair of tickets, I'd work something out. But one thing I do know is that direct flights in and out of Germany around any especially attractive fixture are likely to be really hard to get at anything approaching a reasonable price.
Wouldn't it be better if McDonalds offered fewer tickets but put packages together for their contestants. The surplus tickets could be passed on to host nations to up their percentages and offer real fans more opportunities to go.
Oh, who am I kidding? You've got to be incredibly wealthy to support any premiership football team these days. And to support England you have to have money coming out of your ears. All those away games in far flung ports come at substantial cost.