Oct 13, 2013, 5:20 PM EST
FIFA’s Under-17 World Cup, featuring a bunch of future pros and about to start this week in United Arab Emirates, has concluded that the best way to make sure stadiums are not empty is to simply give the tickets away.
FIFA announced today that all remaining tickets can be had at no cost.
There may be an important lesson here. There is but one reason an organization chooses to give away seats: the things simply are not selling.
That could be a reminder of FIFA’s enormous risk in putting a World Cup in Qatar (in 2022, that is). In case you haven’t heard, that’s been a bit of a mess. Soccer just may not be popular enough in that part of the world. (UAE sits just across the Persian Gulf from Qatar.)
Or is the lesson something different? Is this just a reminder of something we already know, that big-time sports live and die in many ways on stars.
The FIFA under-17 World Cup will include plenty of future stars – but they aren’t stars yet. Drop a tournament with a bunch of unrecognizable names into pretty much any land, and this is what you are likely to get, a tough sale.
- 2014 World Cup Draw: Recapping the event (43)
- 2014 World Cup Draw: USA in Group of Death with Germany, Portugal, Ghana – Schedule, times, venues (34)
- What US Soccer wants from the World Cup draw (23)
- Now that we know the U.S. opponents, which 23 players should Jurgen Klinsmann bring to Brazil? (21)
- Sporting Kansas City crowned 2013 MLS champions after 10 rounds of penalty kicks (15)
- Brazil 2014: A Look At South America
- Arena de Amazonia: Host of USA vs CR7
- USA Will Advance in Brazil
- Group B: No Walk In The Park
- Analyzing The Draw From An Azzurri Viewpoint
- Q&A With Alvaro Saborio
- Ronaldo: "I Didn't See the Draw, I Was Asleep"
- Messi: "There Are no Easy Opponents"
- England Are up in The Amazon Without a Paddle
- Mexico's World Cup Kit