Morocco has cast doubt on its North American rivals’ multi-billion dollar ticketing and revenue predictions on the eve of the decision as to who will host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
The US-led bid is predicting it will generate $1.8bn in ticketing revenue – almost three times more than Morocco’s projection. The United bid has received full marks from FIFA’s evaluation team for its ticketing plan ahead of the 2026 decision, with Morocco scoring 2.5 out of five.
Projected ticket prices for the World Cup in the US, Canada and Mexico shot up last month, with bid organisers promising higher ticket revenue than initially submitted.
An original forecast of $1.3bn from ticket sales was submitted in its bid book to FIFA last March. That number jumped up to $1.8bn earlier this year, equating to an average ticket price of $321, including corporate hospitality seats.
That compares to the $169 average ticket price for bidding rivals Morocco — and $158 for the tournament in Brazil four years ago. Morocco’s ticketing revenue projection is $690m.
Morocco’s questioning of the US-Canada-Mexico projections came as leaders of the rival bids met representatives from five of FIFA’s six continental groups in Russia ahead of the vote.
“There is lots of uncertainty,” Morocco Football Federation president Fouzi Lekjaa said of the detail in North American pledges of $14.3bn revenue.
“That doesn’t correspond either to historical facts or future extrapolation, it’s an exercise that goes beyond that,” he added.
FIFA’s Evaluation Report found Morocco’s ticketing projections to be ‘medium’ risk, with United seen as ‘low’. The Evalation Report gives Morocco a score of 2.4 out of 5 for its ticketing plan, with United gaining full marks for all requirements being met.
According to the FIFA Evaluation Report, published ahead of the decision, Morocco expects to offer 3.8 million tickets, and projects to sell 90 per cent of those. Some tickets would be available for just $27. FIFA concludes that while ticket revenues would be around 10 per cent higher than Russia 2018, hospitality revenue would drop by around 22 per cent.
The United bid projects that five million tickets would be available, and believes 99.2 per cent of seats will be filled. The FIFA Evaluation Report suggests a US-led World Cup would see ticket revenues double compared to 2018, with hospitality up 150 per cent.
FIFA’s members are set to vote tomorrow on June 13.
Image: Tsutomu Takasu