The good news: as of Thursday afternoon, 32 group games out of 40 still had tickets available (see HERE). These tickets are widely spread amongst all venues except one and include, perhaps a little surprisingly, Wales match against Fiji in Cardiff. Both Cardiff Quarter Finals have tickets left, too – the fact that Wales will not play in either, regardless of pool finish, has probably had a bearing on this.
Clearly, if you want a ticket to RWC 2015 there’s still plenty of chances.
The bad news: check your bank balance first. I’ve seen plenty of tweets criticising pricing, but very little in the mainstream media. So let’s have a look…
Let’s take the smallest venue as an example – Exeter’s Sandy Park, with approximately 12,300 seats.
All 3 matches there have availability, and in a variety of categories but ask yourself this, would you pay £45 to watch Tonga v Namibia, or £65 to watch Italy v Romania? It appears that many won’t.
I don’t want this to be a complete bashing of ticket prices, because the Italy v Romania match had Category D tickets for £20 and many other venues started with similar pricing. Some matches had adult tickets from £15 and child tickets from £7. You can’t argue with that.
These cheaper tickets, however, appear to have come with a downside – to make up for these “great offers”, tickets at the other end of the scale are sold at a premium. They’ve almost said as much – if you buy an A or B, you’re subsidising the C and D!
The Category A tickets for England v Uruguay in Manchester are £250 and people have voted there with their wallets, as many A and B category tickets remain unsold. Is that price really necessary? Say, the cheapest tickets were £75 instead of £50, and the top end were £200 instead of £250 – would it make any difference to the fans? I don’t think so.
In England (and Wales), we’re used to things being expensive, but how do these compare with previous editions?
Firstly, using Italy v Romania at Sandy Park as our 2015 starting point, let’s compare with Italy v Russia* at Trafalgar Park in Nelson on New Zealand’s South Island.
Italy v Romania – Category A £85 Category D £20 Child £15
Italy v Russia – Category A NZ$70 (roughly £30) Category D NZ$30 (roughly £13) Child $15 (under £7)
Significant differences at Category A, less so at the lower end.
*As a little footnote, my wife and I attended this game. A decent crowd of 12,500 turned up. There were a few Italians and not many Russians. Except the locals. Apparently Nelson has a long history of links with both Russia and Italy (!) and many of the locals have family heritage one way or another! Consequently, the match had a terrific atmosphere and really encompassed what the World Cup is about. Who cares who wins? How often do you get a chance to meet a Russian Kiwi?!
Now the finals:
2015 – Category A £715 Category D £150
2011 – Category A NZ$1,250 (roughly £530) Category D $390 (roughly £165)
Ultimately, not really that different, right? I guess that depends on how many are in each band.
RWC2011 had a final capacity of 60,000 and 10,000 tickets were category D – over 16%. Twickenham holds 82,000 – to match up, category D tickets would need to cover 13,500 tickets.
The organisers on RWC2015 have been silent on this matter, to my knowledge, and that is a shame.
The transparency in THIS REPORT from the 2011 organising committee is brilliant. Not only is that document well set out, and easy to find, it highlights just how closely pricing was reviewed against the 2007 edition. Did RWC2015 produce such a document? Maybe, but I can’t find it!
The comparisons can go on, but you’ll never make everyone happy. If it’s not ticket prices, it’s stadia – ask Leicester Tigers’ fans how they feel about using the football stadium rather than Welford Road, or the unnecessary use of Wembley!
I’ve made the decision that this is the first home World Cup I’ve been able to enjoy as a “proper” adult, and I’m going to make the most of my experiences. This is my holiday for the year, traipsing from one corner of England to another, to another, and even sticking my toe into Welsh waters.
The World Cup in New Zealand didn’t set a whole load of attendance records, the matches weren’t fully sold out but the locals bought into the whole thing. They wanted to be part of a home World Cup where their boys had a chance of glory. More importantly, they could go to a game without having their pockets ripped out.
I hope England and RWC2015 haven’t shot themselves in the foot.
*For those of you still interested in tickets, points your eyes HERE. Go on, you know you want to.*