Publicity blitz set to boost Asian Cup attendances

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Organisers of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup will mount a publicity blitz at home and abroad over the next six weeks in a move designed to smash the budgeted attendance figure.

The biggest football tournament in Asia kicks off in Melbourne on 9 January and reaches its climax with the final in Sydney on 31 January.

Ticket sales for the tournament that is expected to draw a cumulative television audience of 800 million are going well, particularly for the three Group A matches involving Australia.

Local organisers hope the strong advertising campaign that will involve Tourism Australia and Austrade will take the cumulative number of tickets sold close to half a million.

The publicity and awareness drive across Australia's eastern seaboard has already started while its foreign component was launched during the recent international match between Japan and the Socceroos in Osaka.

But that is only the start.

"In the next six weeks you'll see more ground and television advertising," local organising committee CEO Michael Brown said after the volunteers uniforms were unveiled in Sydney.

Summery hues of red, yellow and orange feature in the outfits which the 1300-strong volunteer team will wear at the Asian Cup.

"One of the great principles of putting on a major sporting event is 'you don't go too early'." Brown said.

"You step up the campaign in the last six to eight weeks and we are at that stage now.

"Our overall budget is 350,000 tickets for the whole tournament and we've sold more than 200,000 so far.

"So we've gone past 50 per cent of our budget.

"Our expectation is 500,000 tickets and we think we are on track to do well."

The Group A blockbuster in Brisbane between Australia and Korea Republic was the biggest selling game so far while ticket sales in Melbourne are brisk.

Brown also revealed that matches involving Japan, Iraq and Iran were also doing well.

The organising chief acknowledged that the success of any major tournament hinges on the form of the home team.

If the Socceroos do not reach the semi-finals, attendances at the latter stages of the tournament would be affected, but Brown has the utmost faith in coach Ange Postecoglou and his players to get it right when it matters.

"I thought the Socceroos were very good in the first half against Japan," he said.

"Ange has been very clear that his focus is the Asian Cup and he will build his team for it.

"What we do know that any major team-based sporting event is enhanced when the home side does well.

"Obviously we want the Socceroos to do well. Can you imagine them playing in the final in front of 70,000 people?"

Source: SBS