The price is right
Tonights game between England and San Marino at Wembley is a sell out. This in spite of the fact that the microstate surrounded by Italy is the joint worst team in the world (they rank 207th alongside the Turks & Caicos islands). No doubt England fans will be hoping to see some goals, although it should be remembered that San Marino also have eleven men on the pitch and getting through a crowded goalmouth is not easy.
How did the FA manage to do this when only 68,000 fans turned up to watch England play Ukraine (ranked 42nd in the world)? The 20,000 empty seats were pounced on by those who are always looking for a chance to denigrate football. It was argued that in the wake of the Olympics and Paralympics, fans had become disillusioned with the venality and bad behaviour (on and off the pitch) of footballers.
As always, realistic pricing and good marketing is key. 22,000 tickets, a record, were bought by families who took advantage of a £60 deal for two adults and two children. 8,000 Olympic Games volunteers took up a promotional offer of tickets for £20.12. The most expensive seat costs £45.
Friday night is also a popular night for a match. One can mark the end of the working week with a drink and a match. For parents there is no school for children the next day (with a few exceptions).
Wembley could accommodate the whole population of San Marino three times over.