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Monday, January 24, 2011

Football tickets gone before they're printed


Football tickets gone before they're printed
By Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) Updated January 25, 2011 12:00 AM 


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Officials of ABS-CBN and Philippine Football Federation (PFF) sign an agreement making the giant network the official media partner of the football body at the ELJ Communication Center in Quezon City. Photo shows (seated, from left) March Ventosa of ABS-CBN; Peter Musngi, ABS-CBN vice president for sports; Nonong Araneta, PFF president; Ron Valoneza, ABS-CBN CFO and Dan Palami, Azkals team manager, and team members. JUN MENDOZA
MANILA, Philippines - Tickets have been sold out even before they are printed.
“There’s a huge demand for tickets,” said Philippine Football Federation president Nonong Araneta, referring to the Azkals highly-anticipated match with the Mongolians in Bacolod City.
Araneta must feel like a lotto winner that suddenly he’s been getting a lot of calls from fellow sports officials, relatives, friends and even the friends of his friends regarding tickets for the Feb. 9 match.
“I’ve started turning off my cellular phone,” he said yesterday.
The Panaad Stadium, based on history, can seat only 15,000 fans, but the PFF president said there’s more than that. In fact, he said they’re printing 16,000 tickets starting next week.
And yet, Araneta said they’re all sold out.
“We have 4,000 tickets at P300 each and they’re sold out. Then we have another 2,000 tickets reserved for VIPs and another 10,000 which will be for free – first-come, first-served,” said Araneta.
Wala na (None left).”
From the town of Barotac alone in Iloilo, the country’s football capital which is just a two-hour ferry ride from Bacolod, Araneta said they expect a deluge of fans for the lone match against Mongolia.
“I’m from Barotac, and they’ve been calling me. And we haven’t even printed the tickets,” he said.
Even the President is coming, unless there’s a sudden change in his schedule.
Assistant team captain Chieffy Caligdong, who’s from Barotac, said if only the Panaad Stadium can house a hundred thousand fans, there’d be no problem filling up the place.
Buong Barotac manonood (The entire town will watch). Balak ko nga din dalhin ang mga aso’t pusa ko (I plan to bring my pets along),” he said, eliciting laughter from the floor.
It’s not only tickets to the match that have been sold out, but plane tickets to-and-from Bacolod on the eve of the match, the day of the match and the day after.
Hotels in Bacolod have also reported full bookings for the AFC Challenge Cup. It’s like the Masskara Festival, Bacolod’s most popular event, being held in February.
“I can’t wait for this match,” said Azkals star Phil Younghusband.
Everybody’s looking forward to it. With or without a ticket.