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More than a million tickets in the Rio Olympics still unsold

Reporter: Joel Richards 丨 CCTV.com

08-05-2016 14:36 BJT

Full coverage: 2016 Rio Olympics

Athletes competing in the Rio Olympics might face the prospect of empty seats in stadiums, with more than a million tickets still unsold. The organizing committee says it has reached its revenue sales target and will now give away tickets.

Brazilians and international tourists line up in the sand at the Copacabana beach ticket office. The opening ceremony may be sold out, but there are still plenty of available seats available for major events, including Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt.

“If you have this event outside Brazil, you are going to spend a lot of money. We have this event in Brazil, you can buy something here for beach volleyball about 40 real. It's a fantastic price for Brazil,” said a spectator named Eduardo.

It is about the equivalent of US$12.

At a tourist agency two blocks from Copacabana Beach, Carlos Eduardo says business has been slow.

“The tickets for the worst seats are cheap, but they are still prices that Brazilians could not pay,” he said.

Organizers recently told CCTV that tickets are affordable for locals.

“Our ticket prices are very accessible and comparable to the Sydney Olympics that took place 16 years ago. They are affordable for everyone,” said Donovan Ferreti, ticketing director, Rio 2016.

An Olympic spokesman says the committee has sold 80 percent of its tickets, nearly five million. Many of the unsold tickets are for soccer matches, which are being played in cities around Brazil, far fromthe Olympic park, in part explaining the large number of tickets still available.

To avoid empty seats, organizers have backtracked on a pledge not to give tickets away. More than 240,000 schoolchildren will be given tickets to watch some of the slower-selling sports like golf and rugby.

Despite the recession, Zika concerns, crime and pollution, there is optimism on the eve of the competition.

“It’s all very straight forward to buy tickets. I think they have prepared well, and Brazil is ready for the Olympics,” said a spectator named Adele.

Organizers are satisfied with the projected revenue and hope not to see lots of empty seats once the games begin.

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