Four men blow $112,600 to watch World Cup
A group of four Singaporeans did
The bill for visiting Brazil to catch the World Cup for a group of four Singaporeans came up to some $51,600 - and that is not including airfare and accommodation.
Throw in the cost of air tickets and staying in Brazil for seven nights and their bill rockets to some $112,600.
But it is money they are happy to spend.
For one of them, the tickets are so precious that he keeps them in a safe.
The businessman, who wanted to be known only as Mr Singh, 56, and his three close friendsbought hospitality packages for the competition from world football governing body Fifa back in December 2011.
Mr Singh told The New Paper: "As soon as I was offered the opportunity, I decided immediately to go and sent my money to Fifa straightaway."
Mr Singh and his friends shelled out about $12,900each to catch one semi-final game in Sao Paulo and the final in Rio De Janeiro.
They will fly business class with air tickets costing $13,000 each and will stay in five-star hotels costing $500 and $750 a night for each of the two rooms they have booked.
Why splurge so much?
"It is every man's dream," said Mr Singh as he took the prized tickets out from a safe to show them to this reporter.
He added: "I have worked all my life and this is my reward."
The die-hard Manchester United fan has attended three Champions League Finals featuring his beloved team and has made the pilgrimage to Old Trafford seven times.
He had also been to games at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.
Another football fan who will be making the trip to Brazil, albeit on a much lower budget, is Mr Marcus Tan.
For three weeks, the 23-year-old will live in youth hostels, which cost $30 to $70 a night.
Mr Tan and his girlfriend, Ms Wong Jia Min, 23, will catch two group games in Salvador.
The Singapore Management University business student completed his exchange programme in Mexico last month and has extended his stay in the Americas to catch the World Cup.
He managed to get tickets from Fifa for around $170 each.
Estate agency managing director Wade Bhatti, 38, a permanent resident who has been working here for 14 years, will also be going to Brazil with a friend.
He applied for match tickets via Fifa last December and managed to get tickets for a group match and a Round of 16 match for about $210 and $275 respectively.
Mr Bhatti had attended two matches in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
The British citizen fondly remembers the Round of 16 match featuring Spain and Portugal: "We were in the same stand as Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and as he walked past us, he even gave a friendly 'hello!' back to us."
Another die-hard fan, Mr Hendric Tay, 26, a travel writer and freelance designer, got his ticket for about $170.
Mr Tay, who writes at pohtecktoes.com, added: "It's not every day that the World Cup returns to the football capital of the world. Besides, I have always wanted to visit South America."
He got his tickets through the official Fifa website as he did not want to risk being cheated in the black market.
There has been a great demand for tickets and trips for the World Cup, said Mr Akbar Hashim, who organises trips for LionsXII away matches in Malaysia.
The 52-year-old said: "I received 15 to 20 calls in the last month asking if I could organise a World Cup travel package, but it is tough because of time shortage and people wanting to catch different matches."
So those like Mr Singh could consider themselves the privileged few. And, no, there is no talking him into selling his tickets, not even for a handsome profit.
He said: "There are offers of up to $175,000 online for such tickets, but there's no way I'm selling them.
"The World Cup is not always held in Brazil and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
Match tickets selling fast
Despite stadium building delays and local protests against the World Cup, match ticket sales have been strong.
World football governing body Fifa reported that there has been an unprecedented number of ticket requests for the 3.1 million available. As of last week, there were more than 11 million such requests.
More than 2.9 million tickets have been sold, including more than 2.2 million directly via FIFA.com to the general public.
Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke said the opening match and the final have been oversubscribed tenfold.
Overall, 60 per cent of tickets were bought by Brazilians and 40 per cent by fans from other countries.
After Brazil, the US leads the international pack with the most tickets bought, followed by Argentina, Germany, England, Colombia, Australia, Chile, France and Mexico.
Tickets for the opening match, semi-finals and final are sold out, but there are a few tickets left for 27 of the 64 matches.
Fans on the lookout for tickets should keep checking www.FIFA.com/tickets as potential resales or unpaid purchases means that some tickets may go back on offer to the general public.
Mr Marcus Tan managed to get his tickets from Fifa for $170 each, but said his Mexican friend paid around $1,000 for a similar ticket from a third party re-seller.
Mr Aaron Kok, managing director of travel agency 1896 Travel, revealed that he can get match tickets from secondary sources that cost at least $900 for group matches, $3,200 for semi-final matches and $7,000 for the final.