FIFA Fan Fests attract the masses
© AFP

More than 400,000 fans celebrated together at the 16 official FIFA Fan Fest™ venues yesterday, as the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ got underway.

The Opening Match between South Africa and Mexico was followed by 300,000 enthusiasts at the official FIFA Fan Fests in the host nation, while, between them, Rome, Paris, Berlin, Sydney, Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro had 100,000 supporters.

The largest spectator groups were at the FIFA Fan Fests in Johannesburg and Soweto, with over 75,000 apiece. In Mexico City, meanwhile, 50,000 gathered at Zocalo to support El Tri against Bafana Bafana.

Many venues reached their full capacity even before kick-off. The gates to these venues were then closed to guarantee safety for all spectators.

The FIFA Fan Fests were an enormous success story at Germany 2006, when millions of people of all genders, religions, races and ages watched the matches peacefully together.

The official FIFA Fan Fests are continuing in 2010 as the recommended alternative for fans who do not have a ticket to the stadium. They also offer supporters around the globe the opportunity to watch all 64 South Africa 2010 matches and feel truly part of the tournament.

FIFA Fan Fest South Africa
The organisers in the different venues will use local media to inform the fans in case the venue has reached its maximum capacity, and fans are advised to arrive early to avoid disappointment as much as possible.

International FIFA Fan Fest
The International FIFA Fan Fests are organized at six iconic locations around the world:
- Berlin - Olympic Stadium (11-18 June) / Strasse des 17. Juni (23 June - 11 July)
- Rome - Piazza di Siena, in Vila Borghese
- Paris - Les Jardins du Trocadero
- Rio de Janeiro - Copacabana beach
- Mexico City - Zocalo
- Sydney - Darling Harbour