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Copa America 2019: Empty Stadium Observed

3 matches played already in the Brazil 2019 Copa América, but the number of empty seats increases. Discover why!

3 matches played already in the Brazil 2019 Copa América, but the number of empty seats increases. Discover why!

After all, the 2014 World Cup has raised the question of what better than Brazil, a country of football par excellence, to host a major international competition? But after the first day of the 46th edition of the Copa América, it is clear that the stadia are sparse or even largely empty when Brazil is not playing or a big fixture like Argentina-Colombia.

If the socioeconomic crisis in Venezuela has crushed the purchasing power of Venezuelan fans, we would have at least expected a red and white tidal wave. Last summer, the Peruvians had invaded Russia in tens of thousands being among the most represented in the rostrum, starting with the match against the Blues in Yekaterinburg … However, this Friday night, the organizers counted only 13,370 spectators in an arena that fills up to 56,000. What about Paraguay-Qatar and Uruguay-Ecuador the following day? Both matches counted 19,196 and 13,611 spectators respectively.

80% empty stadium during Uruguay-Ecuador encounter

Moreover, even the Argentina-Colombia encounter played in Salvador de Bahia (48,000) Saturday night was not completely full. This phenomenon causes one to wonder if the Copa América would lose its splendour by dint of chain editions (2015 in Chile, 2016 in the United States for the Centenary, 2019 in Brazil and 2020 in Argentina and Colombia in order to copy the editions on “the Euro years”). Are the Peruvians all broke after making huge sacrifices to go to Russia last year? Or is it the presence of Qatari and Japanese guests that does not interest anyone? All these hypotheses can explain why some of the stands are sparse, but which do not indicate the root cause of empty stadiums at 80% (this was the case for Uruguay-Ecuador) on the main competition of the continent.

When Argentinian referee Néstor Pitana whistled the Brazil-Bolivia half-time on Friday, the Morumbi stadium of São Paulo – almost full, for the moment – copiously accompanied the “Auriverdes” to the locker room. The Brazilian public is demanding, perhaps capricious, but how can it be blamed for consuming its money? Ticket prices for the opening match ranged from 195 to 590 reais, a range of approximately 43 to 135 euros (with half-price rates for those under 22, over 59, Brazilian students, persons with disabilities and youth aged 15 to 29 whose families are enrolled in federal social programs).

For the remaining matches of the first round, the rates range from 120 to 350 reais – about 27 to 80 euros – and will then increase at each level of the competition until it will cost from 260 to 890 reais for the final – approximately 59 to 204 euros (always with reduced rates). Knowing that in Brazil, a country in economic crisis for five years, the minimum wage is 998 reais (approximately only 231 euros) and that the median wage is above 2,000 reais, such a tariff scale necessarily excludes a large part of the Brazilian population. Even Brazilian international Thiago Silva has acknowledged that ticket prices are exorbitant.

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