FIFA has announced that it will be distributing 20,000 complimentary tickets for Women’s World Cup matches in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, and Dunedin. This decision comes as a response to the sluggish ticket sales in New Zealand.
Meanwhile, Australia, the co-hosts, have already purchased the majority of the 1 million tickets sold thus far, as their ‘Matildas’ team is considered a strong contender for the title.
Sarai Bareman, FIFA’s head of women’s football, mentioned that it is challenging to draw spectators to soccer stadiums in New Zealand because the sport is not as popular there.
Additionally, the national women’s team, known as the ‘Football Ferns,’ has not won a match in any of their five previous Women’s World Cup appearances. Xero, the official partner of this year’s tournament, is providing 5,000 free tickets to matches in the four host cities of New Zealand.
Jacinda Ardern, the ex-Prime Minister of New Zealand, is also attempting to generate interest.
“My feed is going to be dominated by a lot of football chat these next few weeks – not because I’m an expert, but because I’m so excited that New Zealand is hosting such a massive event…,” she wrote in an Instagram post.
“There are still tickets to some games across New Zealand (Auckland, Dunedin, Wellington and Hamilton) so whether you’re an amateur enthusiast or an expert, this is your reminder to jump online and join in!”
New Zealand will begin their campaign against previous titleholders Norway in Auckland on July 20th.