Weather blamed for low fan site crowds - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Weather blamed for low fan site crowds

28/06/2010 10:53:23 AM Comments (0)

Cold weather and unpopular matches have been blamed for lower than expected attendances at some of the venues set up to allow fans without tickets in South Africa to watch the World Cup on big screens.

More than three million fans worldwide have watched the World Cup so far at the 16 official FIFA fan parties - including six abroad in Rome, Paris, Berlin, Sydney, Mexico and Rio - but crowds at the colder inland venues in South Africa have dwindled.

"There have been some games that we have seen a huge deterioration of numbers," says Sibongile Mazibuko, Johannesburg's World Cup project team spokesman.

Mazibuko says cold weather and "not necessarily popular" teams had affected crowds.

In 2006, the fan parks attracted 8 million visitors.

Durban has been the most popular South African venue so far, with more than 375,000 people watching matches, followed by Cape Town with just over 300,000.

"The FIFA Fan Fests have been a huge success in South Africa, particularly in coastal towns where the weather is warmer," Mazibuko said.

"We are hoping the weather is warming up so the numbers can increase."

Matches involving Brazil and Argentina, plus remaining African hope Ghana, have proven to be the favourites, Mazibuko said.

The most popular match at the venues so far has been the opener between host South Africa and Mexico. More than 300,000 total fans were at 10 South African fan parks to watch Bafana Bafana draw 1-1 with Mexico.

Berlin is the most popular international venue with a total of more than 385,000 watching matches.

Numbers at Berlin's big screen were boosted by its move to near the Brandenburg gate. That enormous street site attracted the highest single day crowd of 305,000 last Wednesday, when Germany beat Ghana 1-0 to set up its second round game with England.

Previously, the Berlin venue was held in a square outside the city's Olympic Stadium, which limited attendance.

FIFA head of strategy Ralph Straus said the success of the international venues would lead to a repeat of the fan parties for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

"It's a huge project," Straus said.

"Even when the national team is not playing, the sites are packed. It seems the model is working."

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