There was lots of coverage of the news that the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final 2019 in Lyon sold out in just over half an hour when they went on general sale due to unprecedented demand but it’s all a bit misleading.

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 mascot Ettie

As tweets like this one show:

The tweet by the official FIFA WWC account was made 36 minutes after the general sale started, but the final tickets actually sold out in 31 minutes as per Alex Stone:

Even though it looks great to say the final sold out in 31 minutes, that’s not really what happened.

The general sale, that started on 7th March, was actually the fifth time tickets had gone on sale.

First sale of FIFA Women’s World Cup final 2019 tickets

FIFA and Lyon started selling City ticket packages at a discounted price to the football family in France.

Anyone involved with football clubs in France, be it admin, volunteers, players, or their parents, could buy packages via their club or local leagues.

Second sale of FIFA Women’s World Cup final 2019 tickets

The City packages were then offered on general sale, with both the first and second selling period happening before the draw for the FIFA Women’s World Cup was made.

It targeted local fans who wanted to buy tickets to watch three to six games without knowing who would be playing at their local stadium.

These Lyon packages included tickets for both semi-finals as well as the World Cup final for a really low price.

Category 4 was just €50 for three games, while the most expensive tickets in Category 1 were just €194.

It was only €65 for the most expensive World Cup final ticket if bought in that package.

Given the pricing, the Lyon packages sold out in 10 days. More than 22,000 tickets sold with 70,000 tickets sold for the three games.

Third sale of FIFA Women’s World Cup final 2019 tickets

The draw was then made on 8th December and for two days FIFA released the third batch of tickets in the sponsored VISA pre-sale for single tickets.

Fans could buy single-game tickets, including for the World Cup Final, if they paid with a VISA card.

The World Cup Final tickets were also still relatively cheap at this stage with the Category 1 price just €84. You could get a group stage, Category 4, ticket for €9.

The batch of tickets allocated for the World Cup Final was sold out by 5pm on the day and the two semi-finals sold out quickly after.

Fourth sale of FIFA Women’s World Cup final 2019 tickets

It was then back to the football family, who were offered another batch of tickets, this time for single games.

Again, they had to buy them via a club or league rather than on the FIFA website like the general public.

Prices for the World Cup Final ranged from €20 to €76 – a 10% discount for the football family.

We don’t know how many tickets were sold during this period, but there was no doubt that not many would remain available for general sale.

If we look at the Lyon tickets spread over three games, there were 175,000 tickets on sale.

The FIFA media release prior to the general sale mentioned, “The three stadiums that have sold the most seats so far are Lyon (150,000), Paris (120,000) and Rennes (55,000).”

Fifth sale of FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 tickets

All three Lyon games are now sold out, meaning the number of tickets sold in those 31 minutes was closer to 8,000 than 57,900 as intimated in the tweet at the start of this post.

With 175,000 tickets available over three games and 150,000 already sold before the final sale, only 25,000 were left, spread across three games.

It is therefore not a surprise to see the final sell out so quickly considering the worldwide demand for a World Cup Final that only has approximately 8,000 tickets remaining.

LOC also mentioned that half of the tickets sold in packages during phase 2 went to the USA so if we end up with a France v USA final, the away team might feel like it is a home game.

So, the fact that the World Cup Final sold out so quickly is a great news, but this is really due to staggered sales rather than the usual mess you encounter for concert tickets when hundreds of thousands of people fight for a small number of tickets.

Even if the headline looks great, it does not tell the real story of the selling process.