• Failure to sell Olympic seats is Brazil’s big ticket headache


    RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil’s government sounded the alarm Saturday over meager sales of Olympic tickets and public apathy just five months before Rio hosts South America’s first Summer Games. With worries about the Zika virus, high crime and a major political crisis already overshadowing the August 5 opening ceremony, Brazil now faces the embarrassing prospect of empty stadiums. Only 50 percent of tickets to the Olympics have sold so far, Rio 2016 organizing committee spokesman Phil Wilkinson told Agence France Presse on Saturday. For the Paralympics, which follow the main Games, the figure is far worse: just 12 percent. Ricardo Leyser, who this week replaced George Hilton as Brazil’s minister of sport, said in an interview with Folha newspaper that he was working on a plan to boost purchases — as well as to stir up more excitement among Brazilians.



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