Stephanie’s Stance: Rio fights to fill seats

STEPHANIE COMPTON; Sports Editor: comptose@plu.edu

Everyone loves the Olympics. It is an athlete’s dream and a fan’s greatest vacation. The Summer Olympics are set to be hosted in Rio de Janeiro this summer but no one seems interested in going. Only 50 percent of the Summer Olympics tickets and only 15 percent of the Paralympic tickets have been sold, a margin much lower than London had at this time four years ago.

There are a few factors that may be influencing fans’ decisions on whether to go Rio this summer, the biggest one being the Zika virus. The Zika virus came into public eye earlier this year but has been around since the 1950s. It has reached a new outbreak level in 2016 and primarily affects expecting mothers and their babies. 

RIO GraphicAnyone can get the Zika virus, but most healthy adults only experience a fever and flu-like symptoms. There is no treatment for this virus, and there is no vaccine. The Zika virus has had outbreaks in South America and Africa recently.

Though the Zika virus has not reached the level, nor is as lethal, as another recent outbreak of Ebola, many are scared and are diverting their summer vacation plans from regions that are affected. Brazil is not a country that is at high risk, but it is nearby many countries that are at high risk.

Another factor that is influencing ticket sales is the falling economy of Brazil. The Olympic Games were awarded to Brazil seven years ago at a time when Brazil’s economy was strong and they had just hosted the World Cup. Many of the stadiums needed to host the Olympics were already built and Brazil had a plan to pay for the rest without going into billions of dollars of debt (as Russia did).

Brazil’s president now faces impeachment and Brazil’s economy is struggling to control inflation. The state of the economy does not have fans excited to spend their money at such an unstable time. An unstable government also does not appeal to fans that want to stay away from politics and just enjoy the game or events they love.

The trend of low ticket sales doesn’t appear to be changing and Brazil hasn’t done much to fix the trend. The biggest thing that Brazil has done is to advertise to Brazilians. Brazil seemed to advertise ticket sales toward foreign tourists over local fans. As that seems to be failing, Brazil is attempting to get a large number of Brazilians to attend.

If ticket sales do not reach a higher level, we may see a decrease in the price of tickets across the board. Be on the look-out for last minute ticket sales if your dream is to go to the Olympics, but your budget holds you back.

Leave a Reply