FIBA World Cup

FIBA cites ‘unsuccessful’ ticket pricing for low fan turnout at World Cup

JR Isaga

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FIBA cites ‘unsuccessful’ ticket pricing for low fan turnout at World Cup


FIBA admits exorbitant ticket prices affected attendance at the 2023 World Cup in the Philippines, a country where the monthly minimum wage is less than half the price of the most expensive single-game ticket

MANILA, Philippines – For the most part in its near-three-week run, the 2023 FIBA World Cup hosted primarily in the Philippines was a rousing extravaganza where basketball fans from around the world came together to witness the best teams compete for supremacy.

However, it is hard to hide the fact that not all games in the different phases of the tournament garnered the desirable attention befitting the world’s top basketball stars.

FIBA secretary general Andreas Zagklis traced the problem to exorbitant ticket pricing at the two Philippine venues, Araneta Coliseum and Mall of Asia Arena, and admitted that the federation failed to correctly anticipate Filipino fans’ purchasing power.

“The pricing of the tickets – which was determined by the [local organizing committee] but reviewed by FIBA, so we have our share in this, of course, and we were part of this process – for some categories, it was unsuccessful. I can say that this is one of the major debriefing points we’ll have,” he said.

“Several times in the venue, where the fourth and fifth tiers (upper box and general admission) were full, the first tier (patron/courtside) was full, the second and third (lower box) were not. So that’s where you see immediately the impact of pricing.”

True enough, ticket pricing for the Manila venues had noticeable jumps in the aforementioned tiers, with general admission ranging from P500 to P1,000 per ticket and a sudden surge to P5,000 to P10,000 in the upper box, depending on the teams playing.

All-NBA USA, as expected, commanded the highest prices, with its most expensive seats fetching around P22,000 to P29,000 each.

Prices out of Filipinos’ reach

In a country with a minimum monthly wage of around P12,000, the FIBA World Cup was certainly an event out of reach for many Filipino fans.

“This happened several times. So we can say the second and the third tier were higher priced than would have been the market-acceptable price,” continued Zagklis, who also noted the co-hosting of the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia posed additional problems for “traveling fans.”

“This is something for sure to review for Doha [in 2027] because there, all 92 games are in the same city. There, people will be able to buy their tickets from the moment that their team is qualified, you know where they will play.”

“Here, we had the additional element, you had to wait until the draw to see where your team was playing and that changed the plans of several of our traveling fans.”

Playing concurrent group phase games at the MOA Arena alongside Gilas Pilipinas games at the Araneta Coliseum was also a point of contention, despite the local organizing committee not scheduling Philippines and USA games on the same day.

“When the local team is playing, it’s difficult to fill up the other venue that is playing at the same time. Because those who are not in the venue will watch their national team on TV or on their phone,” Zagklis continued.

“We did have here, if I’m not mistaken, 50-50 plus games to fill in the venues. Indeed we would like to have had a little bit higher attendance here in Manila.”

Nonetheless, Zagklis thanked Filipinos for their desire to still see the World Cup play out until the end, prices and inclement weather notwithstanding.

“Overall, we are happy with how it worked. In some cases, we may have had a big storm just before the game that’s really caused a traffic jam,” he continued.

“We had the venue half empty at the beginning and only 75% full at halftime, where some people might have bought a ticket then not arrive, or decided not to come.” –

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