World Cup Tickets Second Stage: First Come First Serve

The first come first serve round is like a game of musical chairs, with each applicant scrambling to take the next best available ticket within minutes after the start time of 12 pm CET or 9 am Brazil time, November 11th (write it down or put a note in your calendar!). So it's very important to know the rules of the game before sitting down to apply, otherwise you might be left without a metaphorical chair.

So I called up the FIFA hotline (+41 445 831000 for international customers) today to get the scoop on the second round ticket application process. This is what I learned.

For a new post on the latest First Come First Serve round on March 12th click here.

 

Complete your application within 10 minutes

First, be aware that you can only apply for one ticket product at a time, meaning a TST product (Team Specific Tickets), a VST product (Venue Specific Tickets) or a single match ticket. For the product you choose, you can apply for 1 to 4 (max) tickets

Once you choose the ticket product and quantities for purchase, you will be given a spot in the line for tickets and a 10 minute countdown starts. You then need to complete the application within this time frame, otherwise will you lose your spot in line. After submitting all necessary information, i.e. Credit Card, Guest Info, etc., you will find out whether your application is successful or not.

(edit: It should be possible to add multiple single match tickets to your "shopping cart". This would be beneficial as you could lock in your spot in line for each ticket product and then proceed to "check out". However, please consider the 10 minute time limit, especially if you have to enter credit card info and guest info. If you are over 10 minutes, you will be placed at the back of the line.)

TST, VST and Individual Match Tickets will all be available.

Successful TST applications can limit you

Be aware, if you are successful acquiring a TST 3 (or higher), you will not be eligible for any other tickets in this stage.

First Rounders have an advantage

If you applied in the first stage you have a slight advantage over those who didn't. You have entered in guest information, credit card data, etc already. Those who are applying for the first time will have to do this at the time of their application.

It's true that applicants are placed in line immediately after choosing the ticket product. However, those that have to enter information will take a couple minutes longer to find out if they are successful, at least on their first attempt. Thus, someone who has already entered information can have more applications in a shorter time frame.

Avoid certain tickets

FIFA says to not even apply for the opening (match 1), semi finals (match 61, 62) and finals (match 64). Additionally, match 17 in Fortaleza, match 33 in Brasília and match 49 in Belo Horizonte will also be impossible. That's because Brazil will play in match 17 and 33, and if they win their group, they will play in match 49.

 Color

Explanation

Meaning

Green

Reasonable Availability

At the time of accessing the website, the respective Ticket product is still available and therefore, at that point in time, a successful application appears likely

Amber

Medium Availability

At the time of  accessing the website, a limited number of the respective Ticket product is still available and therefore, at that point in time, your application should still be successful

Red

Low Availability

At the time of accessing the website, a small quantity of the respective Ticket product is still available and therefore, at that point in time, your application may still be successful

Black

No Availability

At the time of accessing the website, the respective Ticket product is not available and therefore, at that point in time, your application will be unsuccessfu

Have a plan of attack

Ok, this one isn't from FIFA, but having a clear priority list can help you keep focused. If your first choice is unavailable, you can then move on to your second choice and so on. If you decide to work with others, split up the games that each person will be applying for to maximize your chances. Perhaps one goes for all Brasília games, another for all TST 3 USA games, and another for all Salvador games.

Snagit1

Example - Games that are X'd out will be impossible to get. Games with a check represent games that tickets are secured for. Circled games indicate targeted tickets.

Know the demand chart

In the first round I found little correlation between the displayed demand and the outcome of the respective ticket application. However, I think its still worth knowing the demand chart for the second stage, so that you don't apply for tickets that you have no chance of getting, e.g. tickets with black color demand.

Tickets for the Manaus and Natal games are in lowest demand

In general, the group stage and second round games are in lower demand than later round games (pretty easy to figure out). The quarterfinals are a gray zone, may be possible, but not necessarily your best shot. São Paulo and Rio first round games would also fall into the unlikely category, but still may be worth trying.

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  • http://Website Yaron Blanc

    Thanks, this was pretty helpful, wish I had read it BEFORE my unsuccessful attempts in both Random Draw and First Come First Served stages thus far.
    My current dilemma: to book flights or not to book. Like most I do not have tickets to a match yet but I do have a place to stay, at the invite of a good Brazilian friend in Sao Paolo. So naturally I am trying to base myself there and see any matches I can in SP. Rio is also in play and even though I have nowhere to stay there and prices are sky high if you can even find anything, I’ve heard many who are based in SP are flying into Rio for games and flying back (only 45mins one way).
    I will apply in subsequent stages, both random and first come first served, but since those tickets won’t be confirmed until Feb/Mach and later, I’m worried that flights will fill up, and am thinking of booking the flights now and praying I get tickets later. My problem is when to go, group stage of knockout. I’d love to see both Round of 16 (Jul 1) and Semi (Jul 9) in SP and catch a Quarter in Rio (Jul 4), but clearly those tickets will be in high demand. I’d be going as much for the experience of cheering on Brazil with my Brazilian friends then actually attending a match, but seeing Brazil play in a knockout game at home is a dream of mine. If I go earlier, say the Group Stage games in SP Jun 19, 23, 26, I’d have a much better chance of scoring tickets but don’t get the excitement that comes from knockout matches.
    Worse case, if I arrive without a single ticket, I could hope tickets become available while there but have no idea how this day-of market works.
    Lots of choices, gonna have to make em soon. Any insight you can provide will be helpful.
    Thanks again for the great blog,

    World Cup Dreamer

    • Andrew Delmenhorst

      Dear World Cup Dreamer,

      First, a general comment on ticket availability. In the first sales phase (lottery and first come first serve combined) approximately 1.1 million tickets were sold. That’s about the number that FIFA reportedly has available to sell. Not a good sign for the second round.

      When I brought up this interesting fact to a FIFA customer service representative, he reminded me that things change rather quickly after the draw. People return their tickets (for a 10% fee) because their team didn’t make it or for various other reasons. Additionally, any of the 600 thousand commercial affiliate tickets that are not picked up by the sponsors will be filtered back into the general tickets. Additionally, there is another 365 thousand tickets available to PMAs (Participating Member Associations) available. Its a good idea to sign up with your respective football federation in order to get priority on tickets (As a side note, the US will make Sao Paulo their headquarters for the World Cup.)

      In general, I agree that booking your flight now will save you money. However, do you have frequent flyer miles? If so, I recommend using them. This allows you more flexibility since the miles you need for a flight will not be different in February compared to December (barring some change in the respective airlines frequent flyer policy).

      You say you are going just as much for the atmosphere as watching a game? And you say it is your dream to watch Brazil play in a knockout game? Both of the above suggest to me that the second round and beyond is the way to go. If you don’t get tickets, hey at least you are in Brazil for the knockout games. And who knows what can happen… maybe your Brazilian friend is able to score tickets.

      I also assume you have a limited amount of time to make the trip. If you wanted to compromise, you could include the final Sao Paulo group game on the 26th and then stay as long as you can. The round of 16 game for Rio only starts 2 days later. If you can’t get a ticket in the next lottery or first come first serve, your chances of getting a ticket for a group game is much higher than a knock out round game and much less expensive.

      Alternatively, look at some other stadiums. You can also fly to a couple of other stadiums in under 2 hours. A long day, yes I know, but thats what you do for the beautiful game.

      Drew

      • http://Website Yaron

        Thanks Andrew, I’ ve found both your blog and all of these details very helpful. It’s pretty daunting as a first-timer trying to get to a World Cup but I’m slowly navigating the finer points of this whole system and your notes definitely help.
        The longest I can stretch my trip is two weeks, so I’ve mapped out options for several scenarios, some group-stage heavy, some knockout heavy, some a mix of both. I’m monitoring flights every day and am getting fairly close to pulling the trigger (am def using points for the reason you mentioned). I’ve even looked at domestic flights, esp to Belo Horizonte where Brazil looks to be playing both it’s Round of 16 match on June 28 and the Semi on Jul 9 (if they win their group).
        It’s a little disheartening to hear that almost all of the official tickets through FIFA are accounted for, as I had assumed they were holding back tickets for public sale through each of the sales stages and was banking on both the next Random Draw and subsequent FCFS to try and get some. I also wasnt sure how their official exchange/resale site will work (I think it launches in April) and was wondering if there may be an opportunity at that stage to get tickets others are returning.
        Then there is the realistic scenario of scrambling for tickets once I am in Brazil. I think you mentioned having travelled to several World Cups and was wonderging what your impression was on buying there, at stadiums, scalper tickets, etc… of course there is a fear of buying counterfeit but I have a friend who was in Germany in 2006 anfd said knockout stage tickets were fairly easy to come by as people returned tickets when their teams were knocked out.
        I won’t be able to apply for PMA tickets as I live in Canada, and try as we might, our team did not qualify. I even contacted the official Canadian Soccer Federation and they merely pointed me to Fifa.com
        I had hoped to have tickets in hand at this point but as you noted, you do what you can for the beautiful game, and I’ll be trying any avenue I can to get some.
        Appreciate your thoughts and will continue to follow your site through this process.
        Thanks!

        • Andrew Delmenhorst

          Hi Yaron,

          The best chance for getting tickets while in Brazil without getting gouged or ripped off is from fellow travelers before the game itself. Fans will have extra tickets at the cup and some will give them up to people they like before getting to the match rather than dealing with the hassle of selling them at the game. That’s how I was able to get tickets to the Switzerland vs. Spain game. Find fellow travelers that are not “professional” scalpers. If they are staying at your hotel or hostel its a pretty good sign that they are legit. This was quite common where we were staying in 2010; many fellow travelers said that they picked up tickets this way. I have found that the tickets are also cheaper this way.

          In 2006, a friend of mine bought from a scalper for about double the price. The ticket was fine and he got in the game no problem. But I think in Brazil you have to be much more careful buying tickets at the game. The Brazilians can be quite tricky… I personally won’t buy from scalpers during this world cup. My advice is to find fellow travelers as stated above.

          Any further news I receive on the resale process I will send your way.

          Andrew

          • Yaron

            Much obliged and thanks for the comment.
            My flights are booked, I’ll be in Brazil Jun 23-Jul 6, based in Sao Paolo. Took your advice and combined group stage and knockout over two weeks. Hoping to catch final two group stage games in SP on Jun 23 (Ned v Chi) and Jun 26 (Bel v SKorea), Jun 28 Round of 16 in Belo Horizonte, Round of 16 in SP on Jul 1 and a QuarterFinal in Rio on Jul 4. Ambitious, I know, but why not make the most of it? I’m going through the second random draw stage now and while not overly optimistic, I sure will try. I only need one ticket, hopefully that helps. And yes, will definitely try and score tickets on the ground down there. I’m as leary of scalpers as you are in Brazil. Staying with Brazilians so I’ll bug them constantly and hope a ticket turns up here and there.

            Good luck and keep us posted! Great blog,

            Yaron
            Toronto, Canada

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