The World cup is on again! The excitement! The thrill of victory! The agony of waching England knocked out in the quarterfinals! But if you're from, say, Uruguay, there's a chance that your team might make it to the final match. A chance. Do you want to buy very expensive plane tickets for the sake
of watching Brazil vs. Czechoslovakia?
Of course you don't. So take advantage of this special arrangement cooked up between some airlines, some hotels, and the fine folks at FIFA. A certain number of hotel rooms and match tickets are held in reserve. You buy a plane ticket, stating the team you want to see.
Once the quarter-finals are over, the fans who signed up for a team that didn't make it have their tickets refunded, less a modest convenience fee which is just enough below the airline's normal cancellation fee to make them feel like they have gotten a good deal; the special flights they would have taken are cancelled. The remaining fans get the reserved tickets for the semifinals, third-place match, and final. (Okay, their team will only play one of those last two, but they'll get to see some good football.). They fly to see them in person.
The airlines rake in the cancellation fees. Perhaps they have overpiced their tickets for these special flights. The hotels enjoy the extra money spent by these fans, rather than watch the last matches filled up by locals who don't have to worry about airfare. The fans of losing teams can sit at their local bar, watching the final matches on television, nursing their bitterness, but at least being glad not to have to go very far or spend a lot of money to watch the damn Brazilians win again.