HomeNewsBusinessOlympic GamesBrazil

Rio 2016 targets ticket drive as clock counts down to Olympics

Rio 2016 has said it will embark on a drive to boost domestic ticket sales for the Olympic Games, as the local organising committee today (Wednesday) presented its latest update on preparations to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

With the 2016 Games due to commence on August 5, Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada said only about 47 per cent of the 7.5 million tickets on offer have been sold so far. Revenue from ticket sales currently stands at $194m (€176m), or 74 per cent of the total target, he said.

Tickets for “premier events” and the opening ceremony at the Maracana stadium are essentially sold out, Andrada said, along with the majority of tickets for the overseas market. This leaves domestic sales as the main priority for organisers. A total of 7.5 million tickets were issued for the August 5-21 Games, compared to 8.5 million for the 2012 Olympics in London – of which 8.2 million were sold.

“We are going to increase the ability for people to buy tickets,” Andrada said, according to the Associated Press news agency. “We plan to set up electronic ticket sales kiosks across the city.”

Rio 2016 gave one of its final progress reports to the IOC, with Brazil facing a myriad of issues. The country is rooted in its worst recession since the 1930s, President Dilma Rousseff is battling impeachment and the nation is dealing with a major corruption scandal centred on state-controlled oil-and-gas giant Petrobras.

Brazil has also had to contend with the mosquito-borne Zika virus. Rio 2016 reiterated that it is following the guidance of the World Health Organisation, which has declared the Zika outbreak a global health emergency but has said the Olympics should be safe during Brazil’s winter months.

Rio has been seeking to shave $500m off its $1.8bn operating budget, but president Carlos Nuzman (pictured) insisted the quality of the event will not be affected. “The Games will not be affected by any cuts,” he said. “There are no cuts that impact the games, the athletes or the field of play. We are not cost cutting. We are organising a balanced budget. The most important thing is that we will have absolutely fantastic Games in spectacular venues.”

The AP yesterday reported that a new construction company has been appointed to finish the Olympic velodrome, which has been hit by delays. Nuzman said a test event for the velodrome should proceed as planned between April 30 and May 1, adding that as a whole 90-95 per cent of the venues are finished.

Another hot topic for Games organisers has been pollution levels at the venues for Olympic sailing and rowing competitions. Rio 2016 said it will conduct monthly testing of the polluted waterways until April, after which testing will increase to twice a week and daily during the Games itself.