Every game day, it is immediately apparent how much Colombians love their national team. Yellow jerseys flood the streets, with everyone from taxi drivers and white collar workers to abuelas and the president often sporting the shirt of their beloved selección.
But the latest ticket sales figures from the upcoming World Cup in Russia show just how deep this passion runs.
Russia, as is always the case with host nations, leads the way with 871,797 tickets bought, according to global football governing body FIFA. Then comes the United States, whose team did not qualify for the competition, with 88,825 tickets. Brazil, one of the favorites to win this year’s World Cup, ranks third with 72,512.
Next, in fourth place, comes Colombia with 65,234 tickets going to fans of the national team.
Though the exact methodology to determine the nationality or location of those buying tickets is not specified by FIFA, this stands out as a remarkable showing given the population disparity between the Andean nation, home to just under 50 million people, and the hemisphere’s two largest countries, the United States (with nearly 330 million people) and Brazil (at around 210 million).
Colombians, with a per-capita income of roughly $6,300 USD, according to the World Bank, also are buying more tickets than their wealthier peers who are geographically closer in Europe.
The 2014 World Cup winner Germany, with 62,541 tickets purchased, ranks fifth. England, which disappointed its fans once again in 2014 by not winning a single World Cup game, ranks 11th globally with 32,362 tickets.
The rest of the top 10 include Mexico (60,302), Argentina (54,031), Peru (43,583), China (40,251), and Australia (36,359).
In all, more than 2.4 million tickets have been sold since September 2017, according to FIFA. Another 100,000 are set to go on sale tomorrow with more “partially obstructed view” seats also slated for sale exclusively to Russian fans “due to the overwhelming interest in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.”
World Cup Ticket Sales – Top 11
- Russia – 871,797
- United States – 88,825
- Brazil – 72,512
- Colombia – 65,234
- Germany – 62,541
- Mexico – 60,302
- Argentina – 54,031
- Peru – 43,583
- China – 40,251
- Australia – 36,359
- England – 32,362
(Photo credit: @jamesrodriguez / Twitter)