Here’s how much Hamilton World Cup qualifier tickets are getting marked up on resale sites

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Published December 16, 2021 at 6:59 pm

Many loyal fans of Canada’s men’s soccer team felt left out Thursday, when Canada Soccer said it had sold out “our Hamilton fortress” for the Jan. 30 World Cup qualifier — a full day before sales were due to open to the general public.

Within hours of a pre-sale event on Thursday, tickets for the highly anticipated Canada-United States match at Tim Hortons Field began appearing on a resale site with markups from three to nearly 10 times their face value. The pre-sale was open to season seat holders of Forge FC, subscribers to Canada Soccer’s CanadaRED promotional program and members of the Voyageurs supporters groups. The Americans also get an allotment of tickets in Section 218, one of the upper corners of the stadium.

Tim Hortons Field has a capacity of just more than 24,000. That is markedly smaller than other venues that have hosted men’s national team contests, such as Vancouver’s B.C. Place, Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium, and Toronto’s BMO Field.

TicketMaster’s app still states that a general public onsale begins at 10 a.m. on Friday (Dec. 17).

On StubHub, the top asking price per ticket was $1,715 (including estimated fees) for the first-row club seats that had a face value of $175. That is a markup of 980 per cent.

The lowest-priced seats, in section 101 and the no-alcohol section 119, were priced at $182 a pop. Their face value was $50.

In terms of the face value, the most modestly priced tickets were in three of the four 200-level sections. They had a face of $35 apiece, but it is priced at $184 to $273 on StubHub.

The increased demand, of course, is tied to the growing excitement around the team. Canada, bolstered by the likes of Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies, Lille’s Jonathan David and Brampton native Cyle Larin, who features for Besiktas in Turkey, leads the 14-match CONCACAF octagonal with 16 points from eight matches.

Suffice to say, the comments on Canada Soccer’s Facebook page and quote-tweets on Twitter could have melted ice on a sidewalk.

  • “I was going to buy tickets tomorrow. Really. The average Joe get ripped off again. This sucks.”
  • “People just learned the subscribe to (CanadaRED) newsletter lesson the hard way.”
  • “I am happy to have got tickets, but you guys have to be better. Set aside tickets for the general public.”
  • “This is international football not club football, ‘the diehards got a ticket,’ bro, everyone in this country is a supporter.”
  • “Definitely should have set tickets aside for the general public sale tomorrow… super lame.”
  • “So nothing for general sale tomorrow? Thanks for nothing, I guess.”

There are six rounds of matches left in the CONCACAF octagonal. The top three teams will qualify for the World Cup, which Canada last accomplished 36 years ago. The fourth-place finisher will face an inter-confederation play-in match, likely against New Zealand from the Oceania region.

Only two points separates so-far-undefeated Canada (4-4-0 for 16 points), second-placed U.S. (4-3-1, 15 points), and tied-for-third Mexico and Panama (both 4-2-2 for 14 points). Costa Rica is the first team out with nine points on a 2-3-3 record.

One reason why Hamilton was chosen to host the match was in order to minimize time zone changes. Most of Canada’s first-choice lineup, including Hamilton goalkeeper Milan Borjan of Serbia’s Red Star Belgrade, play professionally in Europe.

When competition resumes, Canada visits Honduras on Jan. 27, hosts the Americans three days later on the 30th, and visits El Salvador on Feb. 2.

Away matches at Costa Rica (March 24) and Panama (March 30) loom in the final leg, sandwiched around a home game against Jamaica (March 27).

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