The world’s eyes will be on Cape Town tomorrow, when the FIFA Final Draw takes place at 19h30 in the Cape Town International Convention Centre. More than 700 million TV viewers in more than 200 countries are expected to watch the Final Draw, which is hugely important as it determines which of the 32 teams play against each other, and where these matches will take place.
A huge upsurge in ticket sales is expected after tomorrow’s Final Draw, when soccer fans choose which matches they book tickets for and which teams they want to see play. A new wave of ticket sales starts on Saturday, with low-priced tickets at R 140 still available to South Africans.
More than 5 000 media, FIFA officials, team coaches and VIP’s will attend the Final Draw at the Convention Centre. Charlize Theron, Oscar actress and originally from South Africa, is one of the presenters, while David Beckham, Pele, Archbishop Tutu, Past President FW de Klerk, Franz Beckenbauer and President Zuma will also be present.
The Executive Producer for the Final Draw, South African George Mazarakis, says that it would be the best FIFA Final Draw ever. He said that “the event would showcase not only South Africa’s ability to deliver a successful World Cup, but that it would also celebrate Africa’s humanity, reports the Cape Argus. “The final draw is more than just a TV show, it’s a celebration of football and Africa” he said.
A stage of 40 meters wide, and 8 meters tall, which took 5 000 hours to build, will be filmed by 18 cameras. The set was almost predominantly made in Cape Town. More than 3 000 locals are involved in the production. Entertainers performing at the Final Draw are the Soweto Gospel Choir, Angelique Kidjo and Johnny Clegg.
The weather forecast looks favourable for tomorrow, with lovely blue skies, ensuring good scenery shots for Cape Town. This is Cape Town’s biggest international marketing event ever, only to be capped by the semi-final for the 2010 World Cup in July.
At the mountain end of Long Street a stage will be set up, on which local bands will perform, and large TV screens will broadcast the Final Draw. More than 15 000 Fan Fest revellers are expected to enjoy the celebration, at which Freshlyground, Jimmy Dludlu, Coda and other musicians will play.
Access into and out of the city tomorrow is expected to be a nightmare, with numerous road closures near the Convention Centre, and around Long Street. On Sunday evening 100 000 Capetonians came to see the switching on of the Christmas Lights, and this caused traffic anarchy in the city center. No traffic police were visible on that evening, and pedestrians took over the street lanes, which clogged up all vehicle movement.
The FIFA VIP’s have been entertained this week, with a lunch yesterday on Signal Hill, with a spectacular view onto the new Cape Town Stadium, and a 5-jet formation flyover put on for them. A dinner party was hosted by Premier Helen Zille in her official residence, and the FIFA executive committee is meeting on Robben Island today. Journalists will be treated to a media gathering at Maiden’s Cove between Camps Bay and Clifton, and one hopes that the weather gods will switch off the southeaster on that day!
Disappointingly, very little FIFA World Cup branding is visible in the city – a huge banner is visible on the Westin Grand Hotel, at which FIFA President Sepp Blatter is staying with his entourage. Eight Adidas footballs have been set up near the Caltex garage at the entrance to the Waterfront, and tiny VISA flags are visible in the Waterfront. The lamp pole banners on Buitengracht Street are boring, and one can barely see the FIFA 2010 World Cup logo on them.
Grant Thornton Strategic Solutions estimates that 480 000 foreign soccer fans will attend the 2010 World Cup, and will generate R 8,5 billion for South Africa, generating a benefit of R 11,5 billion for the country’s economy. The consultancy expects 50 % of the tickets to be sold to locals, and the balance to international soccer fans. About 18 000 journalists are expecetd next year and 26 million soccer fans will view the World Cup on TV. The largest number of international tickets have been sold to the USA (360 565), the UK (481 184), Germany (25 060) and Australia (17 848), reports the Cape Argus.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio www.whalecottage.com