RIO DE JANEIRO (CBSNewYork) — Rio 2016 organizers are reportedly giving away more than 200,000 tickets to the Olympics due to low attendance.
Mario Andrada, director of communications for Rio 2016, said the tickets will go to children who took part in education programs related to the Summer Olympics.
“There are several sports that are unknown to the youth, like golf and rugby. We teach these kids Olympic values, we teach them how to play sports,” Andrada told The Guardian.
Andrada continued, “The social program will kick in in the sports we don’t know. In field hockey for example, the kids learn how to play and had a lot of fun, but they never saw a real field hockey game.”
Other sports the children will get tickets for are golf and rugby.
Andrada added that nearly 80 percent of the 7.5 million tickets had been sold for the Olympics.
“There will be 240,000 kids across different projects in different areas. We reached 100 percent of the projected revenue,” he told The Guardian. “We sold the most expensive tickets, so we can afford to give some away.”
However, there have already been tens of thousands of empty seats for two women’s soccer matches.
Ticket expert Doug Knittle, CEO of Travoom.com, told USA Today that people are having trouble trying to sell their Olympic tickets.
“You can’t sell tickets for the Rio Olympics,” Knittle said. “I have people sending me lists of tickets, desperately trying to get rid of them. I have worked the past 11 Olympics and in terms of ticket sales this is the worst.”
Andrada stated that the Olympics is “going to be a bumpy road.”
“When you decide to run an event of this magnitude with a balanced budget, no public money and without leaving bills for society to pay – it shakes,” he told The Guardian. “Fasten your seatbelt because it’s going to be a bumpy road. We won’t sacrifice field of play or the health of athletes, but we can sacrifice everything else.”
The Rio Olympics have already been panned due to the city’s financial instability and the horrendous pollution of its waters Olympians will compete in.