Manchester United’s cancellation of its friendly in Jakarta could prove costly to Indonesia in both the football and economic sense.
Local organizers have yet to determine an exact loss, but media and promotions chief Herman Chaniago said on Friday the cost could be as high at Rp 50 billion ($4.9 million).
“We’ve calculated it would be more than Rp 30 billion. The Manchester United match fee alone was $2 million,” he said.
In addition to revenue lost through ticket sales, organizers will also miss out on ancillary revenue such as promotional materials, advertising and fees.
A total of 77,000 tickets were sold for the match at Jakarta’s Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, and suppliers exhausted their allotment in three weeks. Ticket prices ranged from Rp 100,000 to Rp 3.5 million, with a small number of Rp 40 million special tickets, featuring two nights at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and a meet-and-greet with United players, also available.
In all, organizers estimate a loss of around Rp 26 billion at the gate. Losses from merchandise, including the Rp 250,000 T-shirt sold to ticket buyers in all but the least expensive tier, are expected to reach Rp 11 billion.
Fans were scheduled to trade in their vouchers for actual tickets on Saturday. Organizing committee chairman Agum Gumelar said on Friday that fans would receive refunds on their tickets, but he did not specify how soon.
“We ask the ticket buyers not to panic. We will resolve the matter as soon as possible,” Herman added.
Even after the bombings, workers at Gelora Bung Karno were dressing up the stadium on Friday in anticipation of the match. Several of them decorated the VVIP sections, and more than 50 large banners were put up on the streets leading to the stadium.
Jakarta was to be the second stop of one of the world’s most popular professional sports clubs during its tour of Asia.
Danamon Bank, one of the tour’s local sponsors, said it had yet to calculate the hit from United’s cancellation.
“We think if there’s any [hit] it won’t be too big because it was part of our credit-card promotion effort. We’ve been promoting the Manchester United credit card since 2006,” said Zsa Zsa Yusharyahya, the bank’s head of public affairs. Sandy Pramuji & Wimbo Satwiko