Rio 2016 organisers hailed the second most attended Paralympic Games in history as Saturday’s sell-out crowd of 167,675 in the Olympic Park beat the attendance of 157,000 on the busiest day of the Olympics.
Barely a fortnight after organisers were forced to announce cuts to these Games because of a serious budget crisis caused by an apparent lack of interest from locals and the struggling Brazilian economy, the Paralympics came to life on the third day of competition in Rio. It was impossible to buy a ticket in the Olympic Park on Saturday, while a combined crowd of 48,325 attended the morning and evening sessions at the Olympic Stadium.
The financial problems came to light when ticket sales stalled at a paltry 200,000 last month, representing 12% of the available capacity. Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee, warned that the Paralympic movement faced the most challenging circumstances in its 56-year history.
Yet affordable pricing and a concerted publicity drive led sales to rise to 1.8m, surpassing the 1.7m sold in Beijing eight years ago. The 2.8m tickets sold at London 2012 remains the figure to beat but Rio organisers are hopeful of meeting their revised target of 2.4m.