Fewer than half Rio Games tickets sold: organizers

Wed Mar 2, 2016 12:54pm EST
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By Karolos Grohmann

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - Fewer than half the tickets for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics have been sold with about five months to go until the first Games in South America, organizers said on Wednesday.

A total of 7.5 million tickets were issued for the Aug. 5-21 Games.

"About 47 percent of tickets have been sold," Rio 2016 communications director Mario Andrada told reporters following a progress report by organizers to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Brazil has been struggling with political turmoil, an economic downturn and the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which have all hampered preparations for the Games awarded to Rio in 2009.

Andrada said ticket revenues had reached 74 percent -- or $194 million -- of the overall target, mainly due to more expensive passes to premium events and the opening ceremony having been sold already.

"The premium events and the opening ceremony are technically sold out," he said.

Prices for the Rio tickets range between $10 and about $1,150 for the opening ceremony. More than half the tickets cost $17 or less. The cheapest tickets at London 2012 were 20 pounds, at the time about $32 and almost double that of Rio.

The 2012 Olympics in London reached its revenue target from ticket sales months before the start due to huge initial demand and more than a million applicants missed out.   Continued...