In less than 24 hours one of the worlds most anticipated sporting events will kick off in Johannesburg, South Africa- the 2010 World Cup. While the U.S. has been notoriously lacking in the international soccer (futbol anyone?) spirit, the increased popularity of MLS teams around the country is sure to trickle down into this year’s World Cup hype. Regardless of the turnout here in the U.S. one thing is for sure: the rest of the world is ready to party. For the 2006 World Cup games the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA- actually a french acronym hence the the difference) began to host official public viewing venues. The venues were in 12 different cities around Germany, and the turnout was huge-18 million people showed up to the events over the course of the games, six times as many people that watched the games from inside the 12 stadiums. For the 2010 games FIFA is doing it even bigger with the International FIFA Fan Fest-events will take place in six major cities around the world: Berlin, Paris, Rio De Janeiro, Mexico City, Rome, and Sydney-where Fan Fest coordinators used Shiftboard to schedule over 1,000 volunteers.
Attendance is expected to be even higher than in 2006. Fan Fest is now a way for people to travel to the spirit of the games, especially since it is often near impossible to snag a coveted ticket to a World Cup match, and often priced well out of many people’s means to even travel to the host city. This years FIFA Fan Fest in Sydney will have the capacity to hold 30,000 people, and is expected to reach capacity on all match days.