By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Wednesday, August 24th, the International Paralympic Committee announced it had broken a Paralympic single day sales record with 133,000 tickets sold on Tuesday, August 23rd. With Tuesday’s record-breaking sales, an estimated 600,000 tickets for the 2016 Paralympics have been sold, comprising slightly more than twenty percent of the 2.5 million tickets available.
Following the seleção’s (Brazil’s national football team) historic victory on Saturday (August 20th) at the Rio Olympics, winning the nation’s first-ever football (soccer) gold medal, Paralympic ticket sales sky-rocketed from 16,000 on Saturday to 50,000 on Sunday (August 21st), the day of the Olympics closing ceremony.
Following the closing ceremony, ticket sales surged again, doubling to 100,000 on Monday (August 22nd), before climbing to Tuesday’s record-breaking 133,000 figure.
“The [Paralympic] Games are on an upward curve, we now have high sales volume and realize people are engaged in coming to support the athletes, ” said Donovan Ferreti, Ticketing Director at the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, to a government news agency.
According to Ferreti, the most sought-after tickets are for track and field (athletics), judo, and five-a-side football (soccer). With Brazil expected to medal in those sports, the majority of those tickets are sold-out through the finals, including the most expensive seats.
Yesterday’s news was a far cry from recent statements where officials, as recently as last week, expressed concern about financial difficulties in holding the event, particularly low ticket sales.
But, with the sudden surge of interest in the Paralympics since the end of the 2016 Rio Olympics, considered largely a success both on and off the competition fields, officials are now optimistic for the upcoming Games.
“We are greatly encouraged by the increase in demand for Paralympic tickets since Sunday’s Olympic closing ceremony,” said Xavier Gonzalez, chief executive officer of the International Paralympic Committee. “It is fantastic to see the cariocas rallying around the Paralympics.”
The Rio 2016 Paralympics will feature 22 para sports competitions including track and field, swimming, five-a-side and seven-a-side football, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball, and wheelchair rugby.
With the largest delegation in its history, Brazil has high expectations to improve on its already very respectable 2012 London performance, when Brazilian athletes climbed the podium 43 times, winning 21 gold medals, fourteen silver and eight bronze.
The 2016 Paralympics kicks off on September 7th with the opening ceremony at Maracanã Stadium and will last until September 18th.