According to BGvolleyball.com, Bulgarian fans are boycotting VNL games hosted by the country due to their high ticket prices, preferring to watch them on their televisions instead, even in the presence of elite teams like Brazil and France in the country. The website talked to Lubo Ganev, president of the Bulgarian Volleyball Federation, regarding the matter. Here is what he had to say:
“Ticket prices are not high, starting at 20 BGN (about 12 USD – Bulgaria’s minimum wage is 2 USD/hr). Why is it a problem that tickets go up to 50 BGN (30 USD)? Only the rent of the hall for these 6 days is about 100k BGN (60k USD). This includes only rent, no other costs like security and transport. If we drop the tickets to 5 BGN (3 USD) and we fill the whole hall, we would still be at a loss. We need to make money somehow. Yes, we had controversy about the prices with the fans, but there is nothing we can do. There is no way we can sell tickets for 5 BGN. I’m sorry, but when I go to the cinema, the ticket is 15 BGN (9 USD). How do we explain to the players that we are selling their work for 5 or 10 BNG. There is no way we can sell tickets for only 5 BGN to fill the arena. If the federation had enough funding to be able to afford to give tickets, it would give them away.
Tickets for the World Cup will be at the same price. In Italy, tickets in 3 host cities of the World Championship have already sold out. Florence had to put an extra 1000 seats in its arena in order to meet the demands from customers. We are offering a 10% discount for early purchases, but Bulgarians are not used to buying tickets in advance. They will wait until the last moment. We gave 10,000 free tickets for children for the World Championship. Our goal is to have fans who like volleyball, who are watching the boys at 3am, to come to the games.”
Regardless, the empty seats during VNL games is not a good look for the FIVB. Will this be an issue during the World Championships two months from now?