I am not at all surprised by the news coming out of SA that ticket sales are much lower than expected. This has the look of Korea/Japan all over again, when hundreds of thousands of tickets went unsold, and stadiums were half empty despite organizers giving away tens of thousands of free tickets at the last second to try to get people to come out.
Dutch and German football authorities have already confirmed that supply has far exceeded demand for tickets for their matches, and tomorrow England fans are likely to find themselves in the unusual position of discovering that requests have not exceeded the number on offer.
Average attendance at Korea/Japan was only 40,000, compared with 52,000 in 2006, 43,000 in 1998, 68,000 in 1994, and 48,000 in 1990. Also, that 40,000 figure for Korea/Japan is inflated because tens of thousands of those in "attendance" received free tickets the day of or day before the match. Looks like we will be facing this crap all over again this summer.
Also, this should dispel once and for all the myth that holding major sports tournaments is an economic boon to countries. It's not, as has been shown in the recent book Soccernomics. It's a tremendous waste of (limited) resources that should be spent on actual economic revitalization programs and education in a developing country like South Africa.
Just look at Greece, a country far more developed than South Africa. Their stadiums from the Athens Olympics are falling apart and are in a state of disrepair, and the government is still mired in a massive amount of debt that it undertook to pay for these one-and-done, economically useless projects. They don't even use two thirds of the stadiums anymore.