MOSCOW, April 26. /TASS/. Up to 80% of all tickets for the 2016 IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) World Championship, to be held in Russia in less than two weeks, have been sold out, a senior Russian sports official said on Tuesday.
"Eighty percent of tickets have been sold as of today," Yury Nagornykh, a Russian deputy sports minister, said speaking at a news conference in TASS on Tuesday.
"There is an enormous interest in the matches of the Russian national team and we are grateful to our fans," Nagornykh said. "In all, people from 39 countries bought tickets for the championship’s matches."
Tickets for the much-anticipated annual ice hockey event first went on sale for sale via Internet in November with the initial price of 1,875 rubles ($28.3) at the current exchange rate.
The ticket sales program was divided into three separate sub-groups. The first - deals season tickets for all matches of a particular national team, the second - season tickets for all matches at one particular arena, and the third offers tickets for particular matches of both of the group and the knock-out stages.
IIHF President Rene Fasel said earlier in the year commenting on the volume of ticket sales that Russian ice hockey fans were known for postponing everything until the last moment and he witnessed the same situation with ticket sales for the matches of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The matches of the 2016 IIHF World Championship are scheduled to be held in the country’s capital of Moscow and in Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg between May 6 and 22. The games of the global ice hockey tournament will be hosted by the VTB Ice Palace in Moscow and the Yubileiny Arena in St. Petersburg.
A total of 16 national teams, qualified to play in the upcoming 2016 IIHF World Championship, were divided into two groups. The 12,000-seat VTB Ice Palace in Moscow will host the matches of Group A, which comprise the teams from Russia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Latvia, Norway, Denmark and Kazakhstan.
The 6,000-seat Yubileiny Arena will see the matches of Group B teams, which are from Canada, Finland, the United States, Slovakia, Belarus, France, Germany and Hungary.
During the knock-out stage the stadiums in Moscow and St. Petersburg will each host two matches of the quarterfinals round, while both semifinals, the match for the third place and the final are scheduled to be held at the VTB Ice Palace in Moscow.
This will be the 7th IIHF World Championship held in Russia as it was hosted by Moscow five times, namely in 1957, 1973, 1979, 1986 and 2007, and once by St. Petersburg in 2000.