FIBA admits ‘unsuccessful’ ticket pricing led to ‘lower than expected’ venue attendance

FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis acknowledged that there were “some lapses” in ticket pricing for the 2023 FIBA World Cup games in Manila after venue attendance was lower than expected in majority of the matches.

On the final day of the World Cup 2023 on Sunday, Zagklis announced that FIBA would reassess ticket pricing because the higher-priced seats were almost always empty. In games hosted at Smart Araneta Coliseum and Mall of Asia Arena, fans largely went for the cheaper general admission and upper box tickets.

“The pricing of the tickets, which was determined by the local [organizing committee] but reviewed by FIBA so we have our share in this, of course, and we were part of this process,” said Zagkilis during a press conference.

“For some categories, it was unsuccessful. I can say that this is one of the major debriefing points we’ll have. Several times in the venue, where the fourth and fifth tiers were full, the first tier was full, the second and third were not. So that’s where you see immediately the impact of pricing,” he added.

The Philippines achieved a new attendance record of 38,115 fans in the quadrennial tournament last August 25 when it hosted the Dominican Republic at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

However, at various points throughout the game at Mall of Asia Arena and Araneta Coliseum, general admission and upper box ticket holders were upgraded to the lower box because the gallery was vacant and only the nosebleed seats were occupied.

The Slovenia-Canada quarterfinals (11,003) and Team USA-Germany semifinals (11,011) were two of the best-attended games at the MOA Arena.

“This happened several times. So we can say the second and the third tier, were higher priced than would have been the market acceptable price,” said Zagkilis.

Despite a double-header schedule, tickets were sold per game in all locations save the opening game at Philippine Arena.

During the group phase, the rates for tickets closer to the court ranged from ₱11,099 to ₱14,599. The most expensive ticket for the Serbia-China game at Araneta Coliseum on August 26 was ₱27,299.

The cheapest seats were priced between ₱499 and ₱699.

FIBA, however, recognized that the majority of Filipino fans preferred to watch Gilas Pilipinas games, which may have contributed to the low attendance in the other games. The dismal weather could also have had a role.

“When the local team is playing, it’s difficult to fill up the other venue that is playing at the same time. Because those who are not in the venue will watch their national team on TV or on their phone. We did have here, if I’m not mistaken, 50-50 plus games to fill in the venues. Indeed we would like to have had a little bit higher attendance here in Manila,” Zagkilis said.

FIBA, according to Zagkilis, is still pleased with the dedication of Filipino fans, who braved the storm to cheer on the home team in their lone victory over China.

“Overall, we are happy with how it worked, considering also that in some cases, we may have had a big storm just before the game that’s really caused a traffic jam and we had the venue half empty at the beginning and only 75% full at halftime, where some people might have bought a ticket then did not arrive, or decided not to come,” he said.

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