By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This Thursday, June 30th, the Rio 2016 Olympic Committee will unveil Brazil’s first Olympic megastore in Copacabana. With some 500,000 tourists expected to visit Rio de Janeiro for the start of the Games in little over a month, officials are preparing for an Olympic shopping bonanza with 132 official Rio 2016 stores planned to be in operation throughout the country by the Games’ start.
The huge shopping venue in Copacabana is set to open on the neighborhood’s world famous beach at Rua Figueiredo Magalhães close to the beach volleyball arena, also constructed on the same stretch along Avenida Atlântica.
The megastore will join a total of nineteen stores and kiosks already operating throughout the country. It will be unveiled to the press and media on Thursday, with its grand opening to the public the next day, Friday, July 1st.
Earlier this month, on June 10th, the Olympic Committee unveiled its first official store in Rio’s Zona Sul at the Shopping Leblon mall in the upscale Leblon neighborhood.
Last Thursday (June 23rd), four new stores were unveiled in a single day: two in Rio de Janeiro’s Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport, also known as Galeão, one in the Rodoviária Novo Rio (Novo Rio Bus Station) in São Cristóvão, and another in the Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek International Airport in Brasilia.
Smaller kiosks selling official Olympic merchandise have also already opened in the Santos Dumont Airport in downtown Rio, the Confins Airport in Belo Horizonte, the Viracopos Airport in Campinas, the Luís Eduardo Magalhães Airport in Salvador, and both the Guarulhos and Congonhas airports in São Paulo.
The Copacabana Olympic megastore will be comprised of 1,800 square meters of every official Rio 2016 product and souvenir imaginable, including stuffed animals and dolls of the Games’ mascots, Vinicius and Tom, baseball caps, t-shirts, magnets, Legos, pins, mugs, and even, for the Olympic fan and wine connoisseur, a line of Olympic wines.
In designing the numerous Olympic-themed items, the Organizing Committee took inspiration from the organic shapes, curves and colors of Rio de Janeiro and Brazil. According to the Committee, the products all have their own identity and unique design, which depict the carioca lifestyle and celebrate the Brazilian people.
“The licensed products are considered one of the population’s main means of engagement with this event,” said Sylmara Multini, Rio 2016 director of licensing and marketing. “Through them,” she added, “the fans have direct contact with the Games and can take a little piece of this historic moment home.”
In the coming weeks, the Olympic Committee is set to open a new megastore that will dwarf the Copacabana site. Opening in Olympic Park in Barra da Tijuca, the new Olympic Park megastore will more than double the size of the Copacabana location and will max out at a gigantic four thousand square meters.
Olympic Park in Barra da Tijuca, is the largest site of the 2016 Games, and houses three Carioca Arenas, the Main Press Centre, International Broadcast Centre, the Futuro Arena, the Aquatic Stadium, the Tennis Center, and the recently inaugurated indoor cycling arena, the Velodrome.
Three more megastores are planned for the athletes’ Olympic Village, the site of the opening and closing ceremonies, Maracanã Stadium, and the Olympic Stadium.
By the start of the Games on August 5th, there will be 132 official Olympic stores in operation selling some eight thousand official Rio 2016 items. Olympic officials expect Rio 2016 retail sales to generate around R$1 billion.