Korea and Brazil will face off in a football friendly on Oct. 12 at Seoul World Cup Stadium. The last time Korea played Brazil was in the 2002 World Cup, when Brazil won 3-2 and went on to win the championship.
The Korea Football Association will start selling tickets on Friday for the upcoming match online and at Hana Bank branches across the nation.
But ticket prices are steep. From 2002 until Korea's match against Australia last month, tickets for an international match cost W50,000 for first-class seats, W30,000 for second-class seats and W20,000 for third-class seats (US$1=W1,075). Special seats occasionally cost W70,000.
But now the price has skyrocketed, with special seats costing a record W200,000. A total of 300 of them will be available, and they include a buffet dinner and W70,000 worth of Korea’s national team uniforms.
Premium seats cost W100,000 and come with a sumptuous lunch box, first-class seats W80,000, second-class W50,000 and third-class seats W30,000. Depending on the type of seat, ticket prices rise 1.4 to 1.7 times, prompting complaints from some fans that the KFA has become greedy.
But the KFA says it merely wants to offer a high-quality experience to fans. "We had to pay a record invitation fee for inviting the Brazilian team," said Cho Jun-heon at the KFA. "Starting this year, we plan to hold one or two matches every year with the world's top teams and decided to apply a flexible pricing policy to make up for that spending."
It usually costs between W300 million and W500 million to invite an overseas team for a match and between W600 million and W1 billion for a top-notch team.
A KFA spokesman said the association paid "more than five times" the usual fee this time including air fare and accommodation, but the terms meant that top players like Neymar da Silva (Barcelona) have to come along.
Neymar has been hailed as the next Pele. When Pele himself came to Korea 31 years ago to play the Korean national squad as a member of Santos FC, the world's best squad at the time, special seats cost W1,000, regular seats W500, while soldiers and police officers could buy a seat for W200.
Soccer memorabilia collector Lee Jae-hyung quoted the facts from a game booklet of the time. By comparison, a bag of instant noodles and bus fare cost W20.