Today at noon the curtain will close on the chance to buy tickets for next year’s UEFA Euro 2020 Championships. It will smash all records for previous tournaments taking place across twelve different venues across the continent.
The figure that had been in circulation for the number of applications at the start of this week was around 14 million. Impressive but when we spoke to UEFA Head of revenue Phillipe Margraff yesterday, one of the few Irish media granted the opportunity, that number had risen to 17 million.
In France 2016 we had a fabulous tournament but at this stage the number of tickets applied for had been only 12 million so the scale of demand for Euro 2020 is well ahead,” said Magraff.
“Because of the different format it was hard to forecast demand but we have been consistently running ahead of expactation and that is down to the excitment and demand in countries that might never have had a chance to host an event like this.”
In a single country venue, we have always had one point of contact through a national association and one clear culture in which to promote.”
“Expanding that to twelve was a logistical and organisational challenge but as a team, European football has risen to it in style.”
“Ireland has been of special interest. The team started well in the qualifying campaign but it is never certain that they will make it to the finals. There is a different expectation in some of the bigger countries who almost assume qualification but in Ireland, it is not taken for granted so applying for tickets when you do not know for sure who you will be cheering makes it different.”
“Nonetheless demand has been exceptional. In this round of sales, we have made 50 per cent of the tickets available at each venue to the people of that country. In Dublin, that means we will sell 100,000 tickets now across the four games that will be hosted.”
“So far we have had demand for over 700,000 tickets so the ballot may be tough to win but it shows the level of support there is.”
Knowing our habit of leaving things to the last minute there may be a bit of pressure on the servers this morning but all that has worked well so far.
In business, they say you should try to avoid the introduction of multiple variables at any one time but that is what happened here with the change in format doubled down on by the introduction of AliPay as a new payment service provider across the whole UEFA range of tournaments.
“Alipay has come on board as our mobile ticketing partner and it has worked extremely well. This is an app-based mobile-driven form of buying tickets and is undoubtedly the future.”
“For this tournament though we have also held onto the more traditional ways of booking online. It will be interesting to compare the two after the tournament.”
After the tournament will also be a time to sit down and analyse the benefits and the difficulties of staging the tournament across such a wide geographic footprint.
In 2024 the Euros return to Germany but as the numbers grow, in terms of teams and fans, there are fewer countries that have the capacity to stage on their own. It could be that this will be our one chance in a generation to experience the excitement of hosting such a major Championships or it may come around again.
“It is always important to look at different formats and the sophistication of such a major undertaking is increasing all the time,” added Margraff. “To date, everything has worked really well on the new format.”
The next Major international tournament after Euro 2020 will be the Women’s Euro’s in England in 2021 and UEFA has been watching with interest the success of the FIFA Women’s World cup over recent weeks.
“Events in France have confirmed the potential for the Women’s game and UEFA has a major investment programme underway to build on what is already there,” said Margraff before continuing his personal whistle stop tour of the host cities, at least over the phone.
The ticket portal closes at 12 noon today, Friday, July 12th. You have to be in it to win it so if you haven’t already go and do it right now right here.
Image Credit: UEFA