By Stephen Wade
AP Sports Writer
RIO DE JANEIRO — Rio de Janeiro Olympics organizers say 67 percent of available tickets have been sold.
Ticket director Donovan Ferretti also unveiled the ticket designs on Friday, saying new technology would make them difficult to counterfeit. Even so, special police units would be looking out for fakes and scalpers, he said. Selling tickets above face value in Brazil was illegal.
Ferretti said sales were “going well,” though others have characterized ticket sales as sluggish with Brazil mired in its worst recession since the 1930s. Unemployment has reached 10 percent, as has the yearly rate of inflation. The games open in 2 1/2 months.
“Here in Brazil, we have the culture to buy the tickets very close to the event,” Ferretti said. “We’ve sold more than expected at this point. In Brazil, we’re going to sell many more tickets a month ahead, or four or five days before the event.”
He also said sales outside Brazil were on track although he could not give specific numbers.
“We are still receiving a lot of demand from other territories, and when possible we are giving them more tickets,” he said.
Organizers announced several years ago that about 7.5 million tickets would be available for the games. That number has dwindled to six million, with four million of those already sold.
Ferretti said the eventual number available would be between 6.6-6.7 million as the capacity of venues for swimming, rowing and canoeing have been reduced.
“We can only release the tickets if we can guarantee the seats are going to be there,” he said.
Of the two million unsold tickets, about 800,000 are for football, Brazil’s favorite sport.