Yeah, I’m Pissed

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know what this post is about. You’ll know that I was initially very excited about the LA Galaxy coming to Manila to play our beloved Azkals. You’ll also know that, when the rumored prices have been released (PHP 12,000 for the most expensive ticket price), I ranted. And when the final, official prices came out, I went on a rampage. And, well, I’m still not over it.

First off, the facts:

  • The ticket prices (in Philippine pesos): 15,500 – 12,500 – 10,500 -9,500 – 5,000 – 2,000
  • Yes, I know that the Rizal Stadium only seats between 13 – 15 thousand spectators
  • There’s still no news on whether or not David Beckham will be joining the trip. He still hasn’t renewed his contract with the LA Galaxy and will only make a decision on his future after the MLS Cup on November 20. Rumors have already been circulating about him moving to PSG in the French Ligue One.
  • FIFA World Cup 2010 ticket prices (in US Dollars):

Deep breath… Here we go…

Really? REALLY?!?! My Category 1, FIFTH ROW seats to the Spain-Paraguay World Cup Quarterfinal are cheaper than an exhibition between a sub-100-ranked national team (sorry, I love the Azkals, but I speak the truth) and a team from the friggin’ MLS?!?! It’s the MLS! It’s not even one of the top 5 leagues in the world and will probably barely make it, if it does, through to the top 10. It’s where European footballer careers go to die a lucrative death. And we’re not even sure Mr. Goldenballs himself, David Beckham, is coming. Even if he was, I can categorically say that the tickets will still NOT be worth that much, unless he plays topless, brings Victoria, Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz and baby Harper with him and we all get a chance to pinch their cheeks and make them gigil (yes, David too, but not Victoria of course, there’d be nothing to gigilanyway) and, in Harper’s case, babysit.

See, even Becks is annoyed.

And before any of you use the “but-the-organizers-have-to-make-money” argument, let me preempt you by saying that I understand that. I really, do. And given that the venue is tiny (full-size football stadiums fit between 40-80 thousand fans), they really have to price the tickets up to recoup their investment. Which is why I think that the organizers jumped the gun on this with little foresight on how the high price of getting the Galaxy here (some estimate that it cost PHP 100 million!) will affect ticket prices and, consequently, ticket purchases. The fact there were rumblings about trouble in the TV rights negotiations imply that the organizers may have bitten off more they can chew.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that Landon Donovan and co. are coming. It’s good for the Azkals and Philippine football in general that international clubs are even considering us for promotional tours. But it could’ve been greater, more beneficial to a sport that already has a reputation of being elitist if everything was made more accessible (i.e. cheaper) for everyone. How many parents out there have to break the news to their excited kids that they can’t afford to take them to see the Azkals play David Beckham’s team? How many football fans have been deprived to see their team perform against a team of a higher caliber (yes, even if they do just play in the MLS)? And how many people who can reasonably afford to buy the tickets, in annoyance and disgust, are now boycotting the match on principle alone (many of the footie fans I know, myself included)?

I don’t know how these things get negotiated and planned, of course, (who knows, maybe the organizers will barely make money even at these prices) but I can’t help but think that there was a miss somewhere. How could there not be, when the whole thing now reeks of greed and profiteering when, in the first place, the point should have been the promotion and advancement of the beautiful game?

Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images