Fans can start registering to buy Qatar World Cup tickets on Wednesday with prices for visitors starting at around $70, one-third cheaper than the tournament in Russia, The Associated Press has learned. The category-three tickets on international sale will be 250 Qatari riyals ($69), two people with knowledge of the prices said Tuesday, compared to $105 for the equivalent in 2018. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the ticketing process.
The cheapest tickets — in category four only for Qatari residents — will cost 40 Qatari riyals ($11), the people said. The intended ticket prices will be the cheapest at a World Cup since $3 seats in Mexico — based on 1986 exchange rates — and half the price of those made available to locals at the equivalent of $22 in Russia in 2018. The low entry point for tickets in Qatar could help to provide access to the low-paid migrant worker population for the Nov. 21-Dec. 18 tournament.
The cheapest tickets at the 2019 world track and field championships were 60 Qatari riyals ($17) and entry was eventually made free for workers to fill empty seats. FIFA tickets will be distributed through a regulated process rather than an open sale with the full range of prices still to be announced. Supporters requesting to attend matches at the Middle East's first World Cup will only discover if they are successful based on a random draw at the conclusion of the first application phase which runs through Feb. 8.
The ticket process is beginning with only 13 of the 32 slots at the tournament filled and qualifying not concluding until the intercontinental playoffs in June. FIFA aims to generate $500 million from hospitality rights and ticket sales from the World Cup, according to the governing body's most recent financial report. Unlike previous World Cups, little travel will be required once in Qatar with the eight newly built stadiums within a 30-mile radius of Doha.
Travel during the tournament figures to be the shortest since the 1954 tournament in Switzerland, but hotel availability could be tight. Local organizers have reserved most hotels in Qatar so there was no availability showing on Tuesday to book for the duration of the tournament when searching online. Rooms in hotels, apartments and cruise liners will be made available via a website later this year. Only around 90,000 rooms will be made available to the public with 40,000 set aside for teams, officials, sponsors and media. While camping in the desert had previously been touted as a means of finding space for fans, that is now being downplayed as a significant option.
There will be 4,000 cabins on cruise ships that will dock in Doha for the tournament. Qatar Airways, a FIFA sponsor, is already selling packages including flights, hotels and tickets guaranteed to follow your country. World Cup organizers have also said more than 1.2 million visitors will come. The group stage features 32 teams with games across 12 days when Qatar anticipates 559,000 flying in with a peak of 276,000 ticket holders around Nov. 27 and 28 requiring an estimated 128,000 rooms, according to details provided last month to the AP.
Some fans could still be deterred from flying to the World Cup after a decade of criticism of Qatar's treatment of the migrant workers, who are largely from southwest Asia and have been relied on to build up the infrastructure since winning the FIFA hosting rights in 2010.