Vacant Rio seats down to no-shows, say Olympics organisers

Vacant Rio seats down to no-shows, say Olympics organisers

RIO DE JANEIRO - Rio 2016 organisers insisted on Wednesday they have not been fabricating ticket sales numbers, blaming empty seats on people with tickets simply not turning up.

Rio organisers say empty seats are due to ticket holders not turning up

Vast swathes of empty seats being beamed all over the world into people's homes have been a major source of embarrassment for organisers, particularly with some events seemingly sold out and no tickets available to buy on the official website.

Track and field has been a particular source of humiliation with the 60,000-seat stadium appearing no more than a third full on Tuesday evening despite men's 110m hurdles, high jump and women's 1500m gold medals being decided.

Rio 2016 chief spokesman Mario Andrada insisted, though, that the problem simply revolves around "no-shows".

"We sold 53,282 tickets yesterday for the Olympic stadium," he said, without specifying whether that was across the day's two sessions or only the evening one.

"We got the messages out, we had two stories in Portuguese on the website to cheer, to support athletes."

He added: "We understand that this worries especially the athletes that need more public to help them perform at their best.

"Obviously it's an issue for rights holders and broadcasters.

"We went into the no-shows and why did we have no-shows -- this is the difference between the sold out on the website and the empty seats.

"It's definitely no-shows, so we're doing thorough research on no-shows and the first information we have is that there were no major numbers of tickets that were either resold or offered by touters."

He said that "12,000 tickets" that were being recycled outside the Olympic Park had been "apprehended by the police" in a bid to curb touters' operations.

"We are concerned but we are doing our best to make sure these two problems do not affect the Games any more than they already have," added Andrada.

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