Lonely Planet Writer

Tickets sell out for several Paralympics finals, with sales hitting the 1.5 million mark

It’s no surprise that ticket sales for the 2016 Paralympic Games, which kicks off this Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro, have been worrisome, but a turning point was reached on Sunday when sales reached the 1.5 million mark – and several finals have now sold out.

Paralympic torch
Paralympic torch Image by Getty Images

“There has been an important change in the pattern as far as ticket sales are concerned,” said Mario Andrada, Rio 2016’s executive director for communications. “Firstly, we saw a lot of energy coming from the Olympic Games and from people who just wanted to have access to the Paralympic Park in Barra. Now we see people looking for specific athletes and scheduled duels. To see sport as the main reason for people to buy a given set of tickets is very rewarding.”

Philip Craven (R), President of the International Paralympic Committee, and Andrew Parsons, President of Brazilian Paralympic Committee, take pictures before the inauguration of the symbol of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on September 2, 2016. The sculpture is made out of recycled materials collected at the beach and offers different textures and smells for the interaction with people.
The symbol of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Image by YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images

Though some one million or so tickets remain available, organisers are no longer concerned about the dire idea of para-athletes performing in crowd-less venues to the sounds of silence. That bodes especially well for Brazil’s homegrown para-athletic heroes, which, unlike the traditional Olympic Games last month, the country is favoured to take home a top five finish and could nab a gold as early as the first day of competition when favourite Odair Santos runs in the men’s 5000-metre, T11 class.

In other good ticket news, a UK effort to boost ticket sales and fill the stadiums with Brazilian children – #filltheseats – had reached ten times its projected goals after just eight days behind the donor might of Sainsbury’s and Allianz.

Meanwhile, the Paralympic torch relay reaches the Southern Brazil town of Joinville on Monday (5 September), the last stop on its themed marketing tour through six Brazilian cities, each representing a core value of the Paralympic Games: Brasília (equality), Belém (determination), Natal (inspiration), São Paulo (transformation), Joinville (courage) and Rio (passion). Rio’s iconic Maracanã Stadium will host the 2016 Paralympic Games opening ceremony on Wednesday.