Over 1 million Argentines flooded a ticket sale website Thursday for a chance see Lionel Messi and his World Cup winning national team play for the first time on home soil since taking the title in December.
Tickets to a friendly soccer match between Argentina and Panama’s national teams sold out in less than two and a half hours as soccer-crazed Argentines snapped up tickets to see their team play in Buenos Aires on March 23 at a stadium with capacity for more than 80,000 fans.
Over a 1.3 million people were registered to purchase tickets through an online platform when they went on sale at 2 p.m. local time, selling out by 4:30 p.m. the same afternoon. General admission tickets cost around 12,000 pesos, or around $30 dollars at Argentina’s parallel exchange rate, plus a service fee, while premium tickets go for around $130.
Scalpers almost immediately jumped on an arbitrage opportunity, selling their spot in the virtual queue for more than $300, according to local news outlet La Nacion, which live-blogged coverage of the ticket sales.
Argentina’s national team, led by soccer superstar Messi, staged a dramatic run to win the World Cup, giving the country its first championship title in 36 years and third overall.
The win spurred massive nationwide celebrations and a badly needed dose of euphoria for the country of 46 million. Inflation is running above 100% and the economy is seen contracting 3% in 2023 as the worst drought in recent memory ravages Argentina’s crop exports.