It's been billed as a showcase for a new South Africa — and the government is spending billions to make it so. One brand-new stadium, in Nelspruit, reportedly cost $137 million. Nine cities will host matches, from June 11 to July 11. As of mid-March, 2.3 million tickets had been sold, nearly 1.5 million to foreign fans for $320 to $400 apiece. (Locals can buy special $18 tickets.) Will the expected $1.1 billion boost to South Africa's economy materialize before the cheers die away?
A version of this article appeared in the May 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine.