Updated January 30th, 2014.
For those of you that don’t know, and for those of you that DO know but are terribly overwhelmed and slightly confused about how to get there: the 2014 World Cup begins next June in Brazil.
That puts the countdown to the opening match at just under a year. And as of August 20th, tickets are officially on sale. Which means that tickets to watch passionate, talented, history-making, high-stakes football in one of the most football-enthusiastic countries in the world are already released. So what are you waiting for? Times a ticking and the entire world is currently clamoring to get a ticket to a game or two. It’s easy to feel flustered and overwhelmed by it all. But don’t let it deter you from attending the greatest sporting event on Earth in one of the most spirited locations for football viewing. Here is a quick breakdown of the ticketing process and how to you can get your hands on some of these coveted tickets:
I’ve got the golden tickets- entry into 2010’s South African World Cup!
What tickets do I buy?
There are several ticketing options. These options mainly include team tickets, single game tickets, and venue specific tickets.
What are team tickets?
If you are attending the World Cup as a die-hard fan or prideful countryman and would like to cheer on your home-nation, team-tickets allow you to choose one team to follow in the World Cup. If you choose team tickets for England, you will go see England play (Though you won’t know who they play or where until the draw on December 6, 2013).
If you buy team tickets for a team that doesn’t end up qualifying, what happens?
You get a refund of your money and don’t go to the World Cup. If you only want to go to the World Cup to cheer on the team you love most, then the ticket refund will only be devastating in that your beloved team will not be in the tournament. If you are purchasing tickets simply because you want to soak in the atmosphere and simply chose a team that sounded fun to watch, make sure you pick a team that’s likely to qualify!
Watching Football is half the fun, celebrating all the countries that are represented is equally memorable.
How many games do you get to see if you buy team tickets?
There are several decisions you must make when purchasing team tickets. The first is the team (This is your easiest decision. Or at least it should be.) That decision aside, the next question is whether you want to keep watching games once (if) they lose.
The first option is to buy your team tickets at full price, but once your team loses get a refund for the rest of the games and go home to sulk. This is for the more diehard fans amongst us.
For example, at the last world cup I stayed in a hostel with a group of Argentineans who were so devastated after losing to Germany that they booked a ticket to Zambia the next morning and left that day. “We must get out of this country immediately,” they said to me that morning. And sure enough, by nighttime they were gone.
For those of you who can bear (or strongly desire) to keep watching football after your chosen team has lost, then you can opt out of the refund and continue on watching games following the team that has beaten your team. Example: You have team tickets for Uruguay and they lose to The Netherlands. If you choose the second option, you will continue watching the next round of football, but this time in The Netherlands section.
The process to secure a spot may be a little overwhelming, but it’s well worth it in the end!
Confusing? I hope not, because there’s more…
So you’ve made two team-ticketing decisions thus far: 1. Who to follow and 2. Whether or not you’d like to keep watching football when they lose, or if you would prefer a refund.
Here comes the third decision: How many games do you want to buy team tickets for? You can choose to follow your team for anywhere between 3-7 games.
You can buy team tickets for just the group stage (3 games); the group stage and the round of 16 (4 games); the group stage, round of 16, and group of 8 (5 games); the group stage, round of 16, group of 8, and semi-final (6 games); or the group stage all the way to the final game of The World Cup (7 games).
What are single game tickets?
Single game tickets are exactly what they sound like. You purchase tickets for one game of your choosing. Though just like for the team tickets, you won’t know who is playing or where until the draw. For example, you can choose to simply buy tickets to one semi-final and that’s it.
What are venue specific tickets?
With venue specific tickets you are able to choose the location of a game you will watch, but again you will have no control over who you will see play. This is often a good choice if you do not want to do a lot of travelling within Brazil (There are twelve host cities) and would prefer to stay in one place. Venue specific tickets allow you to choose one city and stay there. For example, you could purchase two tickets in Brasilia and just stay in Brasilia the whole time to watch the games and enjoy the atmosphere. Curious about travel within Brazil? Get more info on places you could visit!
Will you join the fun? Check out some football and Brazil?
What are the different phases of ticket release?
- There are two phases in which you can purchase tickets. Each phase lasts for about four months and contains two different ticketing periods: The random selection draw period and the first come first served period.
- The first phase began on August 20th, and will end November 28th. From August 20th until October 10th you can apply for tickets as part of a lottery system. After October 10th there will be a random draw of everyone who applied for tickets in that period and they will then notify you if you have been selected. If you have not been selected, then the first come first served draw period for Phase One begins on November 5th and ends on November 28th.
- The second Phase begins on December 8th and ends on April 1st. From December 8th until January 30th you can apply as part of the lottery system, after January 30th they were randomly select the lucky fans and notify you. If you have still not been selected for tickets then the first come first served draw period for Phase Two begins on February 26th and ends April 1st.
- Oh, and then there’s one more chance for tickets. But by this point you’re really cutting it close. The “Last Minute Sales Phase” which sells any leftover tickets or tickets sold back to FIFA from buyers who can no longer attend operates on a first come first served basis (No lottery for this one!) and runs from April 15 until July 13 (When the World Cup is over!).
What are the different pricing categories?
There are four different categories delegating price and seating. Category Four is intended to be the least desirable and least expensive seating, with Category One being the most desirable as well as the most expensive seating. Category Four, though, is reserved solely for Brazilian citizens (Category Four tickets are usually reserved for the host country). So the cheapest ticketing option for non-Brazilians is Category Three.
How do I apply?
You can apply online via the FIFA website and fill out the application form. For the internet wary amongst you who would prefer to apply for tickets manually, you can download the application form on the website listed above and mail it to the appropriate mailing address (Also found on the website above).
What else do I need to buy before/when I get tickets to the games?
- First of all, plane tickets. Plane tickets to Brazil have already spiked, and will likely continue to do so. I would purchase your flight as soon as possible. To avoid spending too much on a flight, consider flying into a neighboring country and travel into Brazil by alternate means.
- Other than the flight, you need to factor in where you will be staying: hotels, hostels, couchsurfing, etc. Just like the flight, I would get on this sooner rather than later. Prices will definitely increase (except if you opt to couchsurf which is free) and places will reach full capacity quickly (This definitely includes couchsurfers!).
- Other than that, and this can be taken care of much further in the future, you need to factor in transportation within Brazil, food, drinks, tourist attractions and separate excursions, and other daily travelling costs.
That was a lot of information. Hopefully it made you feel less overwhelmed, instead of more. It’s really not as complicated as it sounds, there are just a lot of options (Which is a good thing!). And as for the pricing of it all, you can make it a very affordable affair (Only buy tickets for a few games, don’t travel to all twelve host cities, couchsurf, etc.) depending on your financial situation. And if you’re still feeling slightly distraught and discouraged about it all, just remember that this is the arguably the most epic sporting event on Earth and it’s playing out in one of the most epic Football-loving countries on Earth. An opportunity like this won’t come around very often! Ready to go? Time to purchase some tickets! See you there!
About the author: Written by football and travel enthusiast Megan Swanick. After attending the South African World Cup in 2010 she instantly began preparations for the next, and wants to spread the word that this event is not one to miss! Want to read more about the World Cup and Megan’s travels? Visit her blog at: theadventuresofraindancemegan.wordpress.com