Saturday, May 22, 2010

South Africa's World Cup failure

Large domestic and international sporting events, along with a lot of one-off things like conventions, are usually economic drains, and it's a real shame when the country is poor to begin with. Such it is with South Africa:

The World Cup is set to be a major financial disappointment for the host nation South Africa, after it became clear that international fans have decided to stay away and their tickets are being sold cheaply to South Africans.

Less than three weeks before kick-off on 11 June, South Africa's revamped airports and spruced-up cities are staging an impressive show of readiness for the arrival of international fans – although now it seems there may be half a million fewer than expected.

Does this really surprise anyone? South African cities are notorious for their crime, and in Britain it has the reputation of not being a friendly place to whites (rightly or wrongly deserved), and they are generally the only soccer fans who can afford to travel. Apart from this metaphorical distance, it's also literally really far away from pretty much everywhere, especially rich northern/western hemisphere countries. Even southern hemisphere Australia and New Zealand are a very long way away.

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