Ticket sales for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games passed the two million mark on Wednesday (14 September) as the Brazilian public continues to be inspired by the event.
Athletes and officials have praised the atmosphere at venues, especially inside the swimming stadium each night, and Barra Olympic Park hosted more people – 170,000 – for Paralympic events last Saturday (10 September) than on the busiest day of the Olympic Games (157,000 people on 7 August).
By passing the 1.7 million mark last week, Rio 2016 had already become the second most successful Paralympic Games of all time, in terms of ticket sales, behind only London.
Craig Spence, head of media at the International Paralympic Committee, said: “Two million is a fabulous achievement. Bearing in mind where we were at the end of August, when 200,000 were sold, to sell 10 times that in a matter of weeks shows how the cariocas (Rio residents) have embraced these Games.
“Rio 2016 and the public deserve a pat on the back for turning this into a carnival of sport. We are expecting to break all our records for TV audiences.”
Although the total number of tickets on sale before the Games was about 2.5 million, with many of those events having already passed, about 180,000 tickets remain available.
Mario Andrada, Rio 2016’s executive director of communications, said: “If we get close to 2.2m, we would beat our financial target and being in the two million bracket is the closest you could get to London 2012 (for which 2.7 million tickets were sold).
“For us, the jackpot is the energy in the Olympic Park every day. That perception that Paralympic sport is cool and people are having a great time is the energy to change the perception towards people with impairment.”
Barra Olympic Park hosted 86,000 people on Tuesday (13 September), with 79,000 expected on Wednesday and 122,000 on Thursday.
And just 2,000 tickets remain unsold for Sunday’s closing ceremony at the Maracana Stadium.
Spence also praised the #FillTheSeats campaign, an international crowdfunding initiative supported by Rio 2016 and the IPC that aimed to buy tickets for Brazilian children. The campaign came to a close on Tuesday having raised US$440,000, allowing 15,000 children to attend the Paralympic Games.
The trips to the venues are being managed by the Rio 2016 education programme, with the first children having already been to see events. Rio 2016 and the Rio state government have also teamed up to provide 33,000 tickets for state school students to attend the Games.