Rio Games face low attendance; 1 out of 5 seats empty!

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© Gettyimages

Rio Games face low attendance; 1 out of 5 seats empty!

no photo

SportsCafe Desk


After two days of the Olympics were greeted with empty stands in many events, the organizers have admitted that ticket sales are only at 82%. Not even the Brazil football team and Neymar have been able to fill the stands although the organizers claim they have surpassed targets.

Now the organizers have been hit by the next in the long line of concerns – low turn-outs. Although the ticket prices are almost half that of the London Olympics, ticket sales have been lower this time. The low turnouts have been attributed to both the locals turning up in lesser numbers and the lower number of tourists.

The populace in Rio have been equivocal about the Games – there were attempts to sabotage the torch run through the city's narrow roads, and protests have erupted from different sections of the city – tourists were greeted with “Welcome to hell” placards by underpaid city policemen. Additionally, the Zika virus has reportedly scared a considerable number of international fans.

''We have sold 82 percent of the tickets we have available, 5 million tickets. We still have 1.1 million tickets to sell,'' said Games spokesman Mario Andrada.

The London Olympics had also finished without filling up all the seats, but had managed to sell 8.2 million out of the 8.5 million tickets issued for the Games – 96% of the total.

However, asserting that things were all going according to plan, he added, ''Yesterday we started the day with 388,000 tickets sold and we ended the day with 410,000 tickets sold, which means people are able to buy ticket at the venues,'' saying that they had actually surpassed targets by 5%.

Delays and serpentine queues at the venues had frustrated fans who had come for the first two days, and Andrada regretted the events.

''Certainly the issues we had with 'mag and bag' (security screening) we had yesterday morning impacted the ability of people to get in,'' Andrada said.

''Some people, especially those with children, have decided to go home, which we regret,'' Andrada said.

Not even the Brazilian national football team and its talisman Neymar could fill the stands for their opening match, and many disciplines have seen paltry crowds so far.

''None of the sessions yesterday were fully sold out,'' he said.

''As you know, we are obliged by law to keep a contingency for last-minute arrivals... so we need to keep around 6 percent of every session in every venue available until the last-possible minute so that prevents us from claiming sold-out events as often as we would like to,” Andrada concluded.

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