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Millions Apply for World Cup Seats

March 27, 2001
Applications for tickets to the 2002 FIFA World Cup, which will be co-hosted by Japan and South Korea, began worldwide on February 15, sparking a rush for applications in host nation Japan. Matches attracting particularly high numbers of applications include those featuring home team Japan and the final. Tickets for these games, in particular, will be like gold dust.

Ticket Allocation
A total of 3 million tickets will be sold for the 62 World Cup games to be held in Japan and South Korea. Of these, 1.35 million are for the 32 games to be played in Japan, half of which will be sold domestically and half abroad. 504,000 of the domestic-sale tickets are available in the first application period, which began on February 15, 2001. Of these, 221,000 are for general sale; 157,000 are for members of Japan's so-called soccer family--registered teams, supporters, and others who are the driving force of the sport in Japan; and 126,000 are for residents of Japan's 10 host cities, where interest is so strong that one woman even moved last year from Tokyo to Yokohama, a host city, in order to be able to apply for host-city tickets.

FIFA is handling the approximately 1.5 million tickets for sale outside of Japan and South Korea, of which 880,000 are available to the general public. The application period for these tickets runs from February 15 to April 30, 2001. They are divided into Venue Specific Tickets, for matches at a certain stadium, and Team Specific Tickets, for matches involving a certain team. Japanese and Korean residents can also apply for these tickets.

Scramble for Tickets Reaches Fever Pitch
Applications for domestic general-sale tickets were accepted by mail and over the Internet. Postal application forms were distributed at the 25,000 post offices nationwide. In many cases fans--of a wide range of ages--lined up outside post offices from the early hours of the first day of applications, February 15, to make sure they received a form. All the 6 million forms originally printed were snapped up in a flash, so a further 2 million were printed. Meanwhile, the start of Internet applications was delayed by 10 days. Once underway, however, the application site received up to 10 million hits a day.

The volume of applications is all the more remarkable considering that the identity of the teams playing in these World Cup matches will not be known until December 1, 2001; at this stage fans know only the time and venue of the games. The fact that so many people are so keen to get tickets before they even know which teams are playing shows just how much interest the World Cup is generating among the Japanese people. The venue for host Japan's three first round group games (Saitama, Yokohama, and Osaka) are already decided, however, and competition for tickets to these games is so fierce that there are said to be 200 applicants for each ticket.

J. League Benefits from World Cup Fever
Tickets for Japan's "soccer family" are being distributed to domestic teams registered with the Japan Football Association and other soccer-related groups. To allow genuine supporters more of a chance to get tickets, 40,000 of these will be sold via a lottery to people who attend a J. League pro soccer game or a game involving the Japanese national team. To gain the right to enter this lottery, supporters simply write their names on half of their match ticket and hand it over inside the stadium. For the J. League, which has made little headway in attracting spectators, this is a good way to get more fans to soccer matches and is likely to play a role boosting the sport's popularity.

For security reasons, each person can only make one application for each match. Someone who lived in one of the host cities and attended a J. League game would be able to take advantage of three different application methods, however, including applying for general-sale tickets, or a maximum of four if they also applied for tickets on sale overseas.

As the first World Cup ever to be hosted jointly by two nations and the first ever to be held in Asia, the 2002 tournament is a truly significant event. With the second round of ticket sales scheduled to get underway early in 2002, soon after the identity of the competing teams has been decided, the ticket frenzy looks set to continue right up until the tournament opens on May 30, 2002.

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Trends in JapanCopyright (c) 2001 Japan Information Network. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.