When the Rio Olympic Games ended on Aug. 21, the Paralympic Games — scheduled to start Sept. 7 — were in danger of being a poor show for a host of reasons including doping and cheating scandals. But one of the biggest worries the organizers had — the possibility of empty stadiums — may be passing over as ticket sales have picked up the pace.
At the end of the third week of August, only 12 percent of the tickets for the Paralympics had been sold, prompting concerns among the organizers. Not only would it be disheartening for the athletes participating, it would also affect the image of the games themselves.
A campaign called #FillTheSeats was started to raise money through charity that would allow Brazilian children to buy tickets and watch the games. On Tuesday, Prince Harry of the United Kingdom made a personal contribution of an undisclosed amount to the initiative, which had already raised more than $53,000 before his contribution.
Even before his involvement, however, the International Paralympics Committee said it had seen a surge in ticket sales. By Aug. 29, it had sold more than 1 million tickets and 100 events were completely sold out. A week later, on Sept. 5 — before Prince Harry’s donation — the committee announced it had sold over 1.5 million tickets, and said that given the momentum, it expected the total of 2.5 million available tickets to be sold.
Mario Andrada, executive director for communications with the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee, said: “There has been an important change of the pattern as far as ticket sales are concerned. 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 at Barra. Now we see people, look 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.”
Tickets for the Paralympic Games, which will end Sept. 18, can be bought here.