A task force has been set-up by Brazil’s interim Sports Minister Ricardo Leyser in order to identify ways to boost flagging ticket sales for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro later this year.
Leyser, who replaced George Hilton in the position last week on an interim basis, admitted the Government are concerned over low sales.
According to latest figures, only 50 per cent of Olympic and 20 per cent of Paralympic tickets have been purchased.
A Brazilian culture where arrangements are not made far in advance has been blamed.
Ongoing political and economic problems in the country must also be significant, however.
“There is a perception that the Brazilian people have not yet awoken to the arrival of the Games,” Leyser told the Folha de Sao Paulo.
“We are working hard to change this.
“We need to sound the alarm for people to remember this event and go to buy tickets.”
Handing tickets to school children has already been proposed as one solution, especially for the Paralympic Games.
This was done when Rio de Janeiro hosted the Pan American and Parapan American Games in 2007.
Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes has already pledged to buy one million tickets for poor schoolchildren, although these tickets have not yet been bought.
Non-domestic sales have also been mixed, insidethegames understands, with many Authorised Ticket Resellers having tickets left over.
The zika virus is another issue putting off foreign visitors, as well as security concerns and the expense of accommodation.
Both International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and his International Paralympic Committee counterpart Sir Philip Craven claim to be unconcerned, however, predicting sales will rise the closer we get to the Games.
Leyser also played down the impact of concerns surrounding the event, particularly in relation to whether ongoing impeachment proceedings against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will affect preparations.
“The Ministry is extremely focused on its daily activities,” he added to Folha de Sao Paulo.
“We must complete the work and we have no time to think about the impeachment.
“The Ministry must continue to function.”
- By Nick Butler
- Republished with permission insidethegames.biz