Scalping World Cup Tickets, Not An Easy Task
NPR: Spain defeated Germany yesterday one to nothing and will play the Netherlands on Sunday. If you don't have one of 85,000 or so tickets to the game in Johannesburg, you are officially out of luck. The game's sold out. But what about unofficially? NPR's Mike Pesca takes us inside the World Cup scalping scene.
MIKE PESCA: And it's not just FIFA saying that. Billy Downing, a South African national prosecutor, explains that FIFA rules are national laws.
BILLY DOWNING: The resale of FIFA tickets, you know, is illegal in terms of FIFA regulations, which have been made law in terms of the local country's obligations.
PESCA: Tell it to Seth Carr of Signal Hill, California.
SETH CARR: Unidentified Man: How many have you got?
CARR: I have just one.
PESCA: Before the USA versus Ghana match two weeks ago, Carr was standing outside the stadium in Rustenburg holding an extra ticket that was to go to his brother if his brother had, indeed, made the trip. Carr wasn't looking to make a profit, just to sell it for any price that wasn't insulting, because he'd have to sit next to the buyer. The problem was there were no buyers.
CARR: There's too many extra tickets. I mean, it's ridiculous. They've bought, you know, 200 rand for complimentary tickets or 150. So, you know, it's a losing proposition.
PESCA: Stadium location played a big role in the demand for tickets, but so did the nationality of the ticket seller. Americans tended not to care or even know that scalping was illegal, because in many places in the USA, police tend to look the other way - in South Africa, too, though not always, such as a match between Cameroon and Denmark, when even a seasoned journalist was detained.
STEFAN FATSIS: The guy handed me the tickets. I had not given him any money. And somebody grabbed by arm and says: You're going to be arrested and deported for buying stolen tickets.
PESCA: Yes. NPR contributor Stefan Fatsis was dragged away by the police, though he hadn't made a purchase and though the tickets turned out not to have been stolen, which is why the police wound up not charging him.
FATSIS: And he said since you haven't paid any money, I'm going to let you go. And then he became really jolly and talkative and said, hey, you still going to try to get into the game tonight?
PESCA: Mike Pesca, NPR News.
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