CHRISTIAN RADNEDGE in RIO DE JANEIRO: The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games are “exceeding expectations” according to the International Paralympic Committee in confirming that 2m tickets have now been sold.
The rapid rise in ticket sales has given organisers a boost after the dismal expectations of the Games after the Olympics, when only 12pc had been sold.
Craig Spence, the director of communications for the IPC, said that the enforced cutbacks to the event had not had an adverse effect and that the Games were above and beyond what the governing body expected.
Spence said: “I think the Games are exceeding our expectations. Had you said to me three weeks ago that we’d be in the situation that we are hitting 2m tickets, the athletes having a whale of a time, then I think I would have bitten your arm off.
“We’ve had no reports of negativity, there’s been no transport dramas or anything like that and everything has been working. Bearing in mind we’ve scaled back some of the services to all our functional areas, everyone is really happy and there’s big smiles on everyone’s faces at the IPC.”
Rio 2016 is officially the second most successful Paralympic Games in terms of tickets sold, after surpassing Beijing 2008’s total of 1.8m tickets earlier this week. They will not, however, be able to overtake London 2012’s haul of 2.7m.
But from a digital perspective, Rio’s Games have been able to surpass figures from four years ago with Spence confirming that the IPC’s website has already had more visitors than it achieved during the entire London 2012 Paralympics. That is even taking into account geoblocks from new broadcasting rights holders.
Spence said: “I am ecstatic about those figures because in London we didn’t need to geoblock any of the live streams on the website, so anyone who went on the site could watch the live stream whereas here we have more rights holders now who have clauses in their contract that say ‘the live stream has to be blocked in my country and they have to watch it on my website’.
“So actually, we’ve achieved the London figure already while offering them less you could say because not everyone could watch the live stream on our site but we’ve exceeded that figure. Our social media figures; I’m pretty confident by the end of the Games we will reach 1 billion people across online media.”
There are almost four whole days left for interaction to increase even more before the closing ceremony of Rio 2016 takes place at the Maracana on Sunday.