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TTFA explains record women’s ticket prices for historic W/Cup contest

Football fans must pay a record admission fee for a local women’s match to be part of history on 2 December 2014 when the Trinidad and Tobago senior national women’s football team faces Ecuador in the second and final leg of a Canada 2015 Women’s World Cup Play Off from 6 pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder and captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (right) advances with the ball under pressure Ecuador star Gianina Lattanzio during the first leg of the FIFA Play Off in Quito. (Copyright AFP 2014/Rodrigo Buendia)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder and captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (right) advances with the ball under pressure Ecuador star Gianina Lattanzio during the first leg of the FIFA Play Off in Quito.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Rodrigo Buendia)

Trinidad and Tobago held Ecuador to a goalless draw at 2,700 metres above sea level in Quito for the first leg on 8 November 2014 and now needs a win at home on December 2.

Trinidad and Tobago has never qualified for a FIFA women’s tournament before although the two island republic participated in the 2010 Women’s Under-17 World Cup as the host nation.

And the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), based on advice from its Local Organising Committee (LOC), has set the ticket prices at $200 (covered stands) and $100 (uncovered stands) for the return leg with children under-12 free in the uncovered section. The tickets are due to go on sale from November 17 at still undisclosed outlets.

The admission fee of $200 and $100 mirrors the price for Trinidad and Tobago’s vital 2006 World Cup qualifier against Mexico on 12 October 2005 when Stern John’s double got the “Soca Warriors” into a FIFA Play Off against Bahrain. Tickets for that historic match, which also featured icons Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy, were sold out.

The price for Trinidad and Tobago’s first leg clash with Bahrain in 2005 rose to $300 (covered) and $150 (uncovered) and there were over 5,000 fewer spectators for the contest in Port of Spain.

The women’s game has never previously commanded a fee near to either sum.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago football captain and legend Dwight Yorke (bottom) salutes the "Soca Warriors" fans at the 2006 Germany World Cup. (Copyright AFP 2014/Patrik Stollarz)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago football captain and legend Dwight Yorke (bottom) salutes the “Soca Warriors” fans at the 2006 Germany World Cup.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Patrik Stollarz)

Four years ago, local fans paid $40 (covered) and $20 (uncovered) to watch Trinidad and Tobago’s three group matches at the Women’s Under-17 World Cup.

And tickets were priced at $20 when the Women Warriors began their World Cup campaign on Wednesday 20 August 2014 with a 10-0 rout of St Kitts and Nevis at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. Roughly 1,000 fans came out, then, to cheer on their women’s team.

There were just under 4,000 supporters for the women’s last Port of Spain outing in the Caribbean Cup final on Tuesday 26 August 2014, which was priced at $50.

But Phillips, who is a LOC member, believes that the heightened interest around the team and the importance of the fixture justifies the price spike.

“(The price) wasn’t arbitrarily made,” Phillips told Wired868. “It was talked about at length at a LOC meeting and everyone collectively felt that it was a good price point… The Caribbean Cup was three months ago and a lot has changed since then in terms of the knowledge of the women’s programme.

“It was also one of the first tournaments we had hosted… So you cannot compare the CFU tournament to a World Cup qualifier.”

Responses to the prices on the social media thus far have been muted but, generally, positive.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) general secretary Sheldon Phillips. (Courtesy SPORTT)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) general secretary Sheldon Phillips.
(Courtesy SPORTT)

Phillips claimed that the revenue gained from the upcoming fixture would help further develop the women’s game.

“You cannot speak about raising the level of women’s football in one breath and then say it cannot demand a higher fee because that is the way it is always done,” said Phillips. “You have to look at it as a case by case situation. And this is a women’s team at the cusp of the World Cup and a very good team.”

But does the inflated women’s ticket prices, whether reasonable or not, run the risk of diminishing the volume of supporters for the crucial World Cup Play fixture?

Since most of Ecuador’s women players come from its coastal regions, Trinidad and Tobago’s temperature and humidity are not expected to create difficulties for “La Tricolor.” Apart from the ability, desire and preparation of the two teams, fan support represents the best chance of an advantage for the host nation.

In Quito, the Ecuador Football Federation (FEF) charged US$2 (TT$13) and US$5 (TT$32) for uncovered and covered stand tickets and US$10 for private boxes and was thrilled for a turnout of 17,500 patrons. Outside the Atahualapa Stadium, by means of context, it costs between US$5 and $10 for a meal at the mall.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Ahkeela Mollon (left) flicks the ball around Ecuador left back Angie Ponce during the first leg of the FIFA Women's World Cup Play Off in Quito. (Copyright AFP 2014/Rodrigo Buendia)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Ahkeela Mollon (left) flicks the ball around Ecuador left back Angie Ponce during the first leg of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Play Off in Quito.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Rodrigo Buendia)

However, Phillips dismissed any notion that the TTFA should mirror Ecuador’s approach in the first leg.

“That is Ecuador; Ecuador is not Trinidad and Tobago,” said the TTFA General Secretary. “We based our discussion based on feedback we got from the folks in Trinidad and Tobago. That was good and appropriate for Ecuador…

“When the tickets go on sale on Monday that is when the market will speak. But people are waiting to buy tickets and we already have pre-orders… So the overriding issue is the importance of the game and the level of excitement from the public.”

Phillips said the TTFA will pay match fees to the women’s team for the first time on December 2 while there is a bonus arrangement in place with the players should they qualify. He said the gate receipts will help to cover those costs.

“This is the first time the team has found itself in this position where they captured the hearts and minds of the nation,” said Phillips, when asked why there was a different pay scale for the upcoming game, “and it is the first time they are in the position where they are one win away from the World Cup. This is a big deal.”

In fact, the Women Warriors were one match away from the World Cup twice already when they played Costa Rica and then Mexico in last month’s 2014 CONCACAF Championship semi-finals and third place play off.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago star Kennya "Yaya" Cordner (right) runs at the Guatemala defence during the 2014 CONCACAF Championship. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago star Kennya “Yaya” Cordner (right) runs at the Guatemala defence during the 2014 CONCACAF Championship.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

The FIFA Play Off is the last chance for the team, which overcome chaotic preparation with the dramatic technical staff alterations, visa issues that affected its pre-Caribbean Cup camp and, most famously, when the Warriors left for the pre-CONCACAF camp with just US$500 and no accompanying match officials.

Today, Phillips thinks the women’s squad, which is captained by Maylee Attin-Johnson and led by coach Randy Waldrum, can become the country’s second flagship team along with the senior men.

“This could be the launch pad game for the women’s team to be another flagship team for the national program,” he said.

Between 1,200 and 4,000 supporters turned out to watch the national men’s team play in the Caribbean Cup qualifying phase in Couva last month with prices set at $100 (covered) and $60 (uncovered).

The TTFA will soon know whether the women’s team, which is contesting a World Cup place rather than a Caribbean Cup crown, can surpass that level of interest. And whether the football body’s pricing of the upcoming contest is fair.

“We believe a crowd of 12,000 to 15,000 people will be a success, based upon past audiences,” said Phillips. “We would be happy with that amount going into the match. But we do believe this game has real potential to be a sell-out.”

The Hasely Crawford holds roughly 6,000 patrons in the covered stands and 16,000 in uncovered. If 4,000 covered tickets are sold and 8,000 uncovered, the TTFA will raise $1.6 million from the decisive December 2 affair.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Lauryn Hutchinson (centre) screams for joy after scoring against Costa Rica in the 2014 Women's CONCACAF Championship semifinal. At right is defender Rhea Belgrave. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Lauryn Hutchinson (centre) screams for joy after scoring against Costa Rica in the 2014 Women’s CONCACAF Championship semifinal.
At right is defender Rhea Belgrave.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

Theoretically, if tickets were sold a $100 and $50 and 20,000 patrons (6,000 covered and 14,000 uncovered) turned up; the TTFA could raise $1.3 million, which would represent a $300,000 loss but with a near full stadium.

Of course, there is no proof that the ticket price would be the decisive factor in whether fans come out to the Tuesday evening contest.

The TTFA and the national women’s team are counting on supporters to turn up in their numbers on December 2 to roar them into the history books as the first Caribbean team to qualify for a FIFA Women’s World Cup.

 

Editor’s Note: Tickets for the T&T/Ecuador W/Cup Play Off are on sale at: all Kenny’s Sports Centre outlets, Trotter’s (Maraval Road, Port of Spain), Skinner Park (San Fernando), The Fan Club (Movietowne, Mucurapo), Ramsingh’s Sporting Goods (Chaguanas), All Out (Queen’s Park Oval), Econo Supermarket (Sangre Grande) and Heritage Sport (Scarborough).

AboutLasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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134 comments

  1. I went Kenny’s Trincity today. No tickets. They said they “may” have tomorrow.

  2. Solid day of sales. Well don’t Trinidad public support the ladies

  3. To be honest I see no problem with the prices of tickets once it’s use for the needs of our National team(s)or should I say football in general…..

  4. Lasana Liburd, there is a $400 option for the family of four eh…more doable. The question really ought to be: “what value should we place on the event?”

  5. Trin Bagonian, there is little else that I can say apart from what I’ve already said.

  6. For someone with a family, the difference is not $100. A family of four with one child under 12 paid $150 to see this time for its last World Cup qualifier in Port of Spain in August. That same family of four must pay $800 now.
    Even middle class families would need to give it a second thought before they spend $800. They could afford it. But they have to look at the budget.
    It is surely tougher for lower middle class and working families.
    Yes, Pinard, it is doable. But it isn’t such a flippant thing.
    And all the girls are saying is they want attendance to be the priority.
    I will concede though that if Sheldon Phillips gets his 15,000 fans, then he would have justified his hike in terms of finance.

  7. That sounds very transparent and sensible, Lasana Liburd. Britain knows a thing or two, TTFF should stop trying to pretend they know what they’re doing and just take a page from Britain’s law book.Gerard Emile Zatopek Pinard you’re missing the essential point that not everyone who might be interested in seeing this match and supporting our team may have $100 to spend on a ticket where you have to bring money to spend inside the stadium too. If you can’t appreciate that we do not ALL spend $100 on less worthwhile activities…idk..

  8. In Britain, clubs have to set a standard price for every game at the start of the season. It is a law.
    The reason for this is that it stops clubs for taking advantage of supporters by hiking prices when they host Manchester United or Chelsea or Arsenal.
    If you think you can regularly sell at $50, then that is the price for the entire season. If you think you can make at $200, then that is the price.
    So even if I don’t think $200 isn’t a lot of money, it isn’t unprecedented for fans to actually be protected from administrators who want to milk them for “special” games.
    If they didn’t qualify from the Caribbean Cup, they wouldn’t be here. There are different ways of looking at this.

  9. Debbie, I think you are missing my point. We ALL spend $100 on much less worthwhile activities, but crying wolf over the price to see a World Cup Qualifying match when our ladies have an historic chance to make it to the Finals. If you could show mih proof dat yuh does spend less on cigarette and alcohol in a month ah go sponsor yuh ticket mihself. An me ent have no big job eh, ah does wuk fuh mihself like you.

  10. Lasana Liburd, the real truth is that we have a set of jokey people here who as some have mentioned have never even attended a women’s football game (I only ever went to one myself eh, so me included). We cannot be serious about our brand value if we are willing to undersell a World Cup Qualifier like this. You think you could get to see any equivalent sporting event anywhere else in the world for US$15? I maintain that it is a steal of a deal at that price and all the complainers spend much more on much less worthy causes. Priorities….Put up or shut up!

  11. Might be nice if everyone brought all the children they knew who were 12 and under….only who wants to babysit…so you may have to sponsor the parent’s or encourage them to buy a ticket too! It would be inspiring for the youth of the nation to see this team fulfill their dream…(knock on wood)…

  12. Didn’t expect any other response from Gerry either and he’s still missing the point. NO ONE has trust in the TTFA hence the reason Corporate TnT will withhold their support. Still the same damn corrupt governing body. But then again the ole saying “the bess line of defense is attack!!”

  13. You misunderstood me Lasana regarding Google free services. While you may not pay a monetary fee, you do give up some elements of your privacy. Hence they get revenue from firms for targeted ads etc. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

    Most people are happy to make the trade off and that’s fine. I was merely making the point that the services have a price.

    Same applies to Facebook and their targeted ads as well. Show an interest in one thing and you will find yourself with recommendations to view other pages based on your activities.

  14. explain how come the womens team did not have money for food and equipment in the UNited states for the final round of qualification to the point where Haiti had to donate money to us….Explain dat!! explain how d women in college playing for our team did not get their per diems till way after the matches…..TTFF is a joke and now charging a heap of money for final match to take us to d world cup….Make an assurance on where the money is going to go…..dont worry though i would be there

    • If anybody should be called bandwaggonists it should be the TTFF. Like they now realise the team worth something so they trying to squeeze as much money out of this game…mind you not to benefit the team or women’s football on the whole. They were sent to Dallas without even chicken and chips money!

  15. Kester you know we pay our money and support no matter the cost. But filling the Stadium is #1 priority. Jack Warner not there anymore and they still can’t get financial support I wonder why? People don’t respect degree.

  16. and you are right Ricarda, this decision didn’t require too much brain trust…. it was actually about priorities and we still clearly see where TTFA priorities lie..

  17. Gerard Emile Zatopek Pinard, I agree with you to a point yuh know. I agree that Trinis spend more money on other things.
    But you cannot overshoot your market.

  18. correct sana, We all do…. but I think it safe to say that if consulted and this is what they come up with then we have a right to question… even if we know him correct Kester Lendor

  19. Kester you will hear about your pardner DM.

  20. This event don’t call for Degree is common sense.

  21. Oh hohhhhhh! That is what is at the heart of this eh.

  22. I have sensitive key board and im getting emotional.

  23. Kester Lendor and Ian R Briggs, nothing personal. Even though he did go Fatima. Lol. But I want to see what you accomplished before I give you any praise.
    I don’t care about what you did in class or how long you on the job. I want to know what you did.