The grind is hard but the fact that the population is so low makes it even tougher. I can imagine advancing the harder challenges on FC is impossible for newer players, limiting the tickets an average player can earn even further.
On an FC district full of people with various levels of skill anyone can get to at least silver rewards consistently, but there's just not enough players.
Of course, with a larger population, tickets would be earned faster because it would be easier to find matches.
The best place to farm for tickets is Beacon, but that only appears once a year (i think, haven't played in a while). Also halloween and easter. But still, those only happen once a year.
Prices may be too high for what the game is right now, but it's probably made that way to have some level of player retention. Idk.