Fifa's worldwide hospitality programme exclusive rights holder denied reports that sales for the South Africa event were down by almost 50 per cent on the 2006 World Cup in Germany, but admitted that sales would be lower.
"You are talking about Germany with a population of 80 million people in Europe, and South Africa with 40 million in Africa, " said Match Hospitality head of marketing Peter Csanadi
Csanadi said figures would not be available until near the end of the tournament, but insisted that South Africa will host the tournament's second largest hospitality programme event.
He told C&IT: "In Germany, 226,000 corporate packages were sold. South Africa has surpassed every other World Cup, apart from Germany."
Last minute sales for the tournament will also be "significant" Csanadi said, adding: "For the Fifa Confederations Cup South Africa 2009, 80% of packages were sold in the last six weeks or during the tournament."
Match also denied claims that some clients had booked packages but failed to turn up for games due to security fears. "South Africa has issues but not in or around the stadiums," Csanadi added.
Cold weather may explain some empty seats, he said, with some clients choosing to watch the matches from inside the hospitality suites.
However, P&MM divisional managing director Nigel Cooper, who had arranged to take three corporate groups to South Africa, told C&IT the costs were very high.
"Because of the cost and the fact that South Africa is so expensive we are doing far fewer World Cup events than we would normally do," he said. "The hospitality programmes themselves make it very expensive."
He said the cost of attending was "out of proportion" to the event because of the hospitality price tag - around £4,000.
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