Some World Cup players have to threaten strike to receive their pay, as Ghana’s dramatically did, shortly before an airplane flew across the Atlantic to deliver $3 million in cash. Other teams, like the Netherlands, get unsolicited bonus offers showered upon them.
The space flight company XCOR Aerospace has offered the Dutch players a free flight to space should they win the whole World Cup (The team plays Argentina in the semi-final today, at 4 p.m. EST, which will decide whether they advance).
The offer, first reported by Forbes, was made to celebrate the California-based startup’s recent acquisition of the Dutch firm, Space Expedition Corporation. XCOR is among several private companies, notably including Richard Branson’s venture Virgin Galactic, competing to launch a new era of private space tourism.
XCOR’s Lynx spaceplane fits only two people, including the pilot, so it can only send one passenger at a time into weightless, sub-orbital flight for a cost of $95,000. It’s positioning itself as a “value” deal compared to Virgin’s $250,000 cost.
If it wins the World Cup, the Dutch team would be among the first people to participate in the XCOR program.
According to public relations director Bryan Campen, XCOR plans to begin flying paying customers to space in 2016, which is also when it says it could take the Dutch team aboard.
Customer flights will start only after the conclusion of XCOR’s Lynx flight test program, which involves flying 50 to 200 flights over about 6 to 18 months, to begin this year or early next year. Already, according to Campen, about 250 other passengers have signed up to pay $95,000 for their turn. Like a commercial airliner, the nimble vehicle will be capable of flying four flights a day and can take-off and land horizontally.
Even if the Netherlands advances today, it’ll probably be the underdog to win the whole World Cup against Germany on Sunday. Maybe this prize could provide a tiny extra boost.