RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The first 228,000 match tickets for this year's Copa America in Brazil went on sale on Thursday.
The cost to see a game at the tournament, which runs June 14-July 7, ranges from 60 and 890 Brazilian reals ($16 to $240), with more than 770,000 tickets set to go on sale later this year.
Director of operations Agberto Guimaraes said earlier that the organizing committee expects high attendance, considering the nearly full stadia in Brazil during the 2014 World Cup. But he doesn't rule out slow sales seeing as Brazil has been mired in an economic crisis since 2015. And some fans on Thursday complained of difficulties to register online to purchase the tickets.
"We have a great product in our hands, we have great teams playing at this event, some of the best players in the world are taking part of this event," Guimaraes said. "If it doesn't happen, we will have to be very creative to sell these tickets and to fill the stadia."
Thiago Jannuzzi, competition manager for the Copa America organizing committee, said he thinks the tournament will draw more fans from other South American countries than the 2014 World Cup did.
"Peru had a big number of supporters in Russia. And they have shown a big interest as well to come here. It will be the same with countries that haven't been to a World Cup because they will have an opportunity to be at a country that has modern venues, hosted a World Cup recently, and that can build a football party of great quality," Januzzi said.
Organizers promised that no public funds will be spent on preparing the tournament, which will be staged in five host cities: Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Salvador and Porto Alegre.
Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay will head three groups that will be filled with defending champion Chile, Colombia, Peru, Paraguay, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela plus guests Qatar and Japan.
Host Brazil will play the opener in Sao Paulo at Morumbi Stadium. Its opponent will be determined in the Jan. 24 draw.
The final will be at Maracana Stadium in Rio.
Filipe de Almeida is a SNTV producer.
AP sports writer Savarese reported from Sao Paulo.
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