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Yet another problem for Rio Olympics: Barely any Brazilians are buying tickets

(Silvia Izquierdo/Associated Press, File)

With nothing but bad news coming out of Brazil over the last year — the Zika virus, Rio’s befouled waters, a plummeting economy and so forth– the Rio Olympics naturally could be seen as a tough sell to the ticket-buying public. And Wednesday’s news seemed to bear that out: Rio Olympic organizers said they’ve sold only about 47 percent of the 7.5 million tickets to the Games.

According to the Associated Press, Rio organizing committee spokesman Mario Andrada said tickets to the “premier events” and the Opening Ceremonies on Aug. 5 are “technically sold out,” as are most of the tickets made available to foreign markets. That’s probably why Rio organizers are touting the fact that they’ve reached 74 percent of their actual projected ticket revenue ($194 million). But domestic ticket sales have lagged, possibly thanks to Brazil’s economic downturn. In January, Forbes reported that the country is facing its worst economic crisis since the 1930s, with inflation and unemployment both on the rise.

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Andrada said Rio organizers are going to set up electronic ticket-sales booths throughout the city.

Ticket sales aren’t the only pressing issues for Rio organizers. Delays in construction for the swimming and cycling venues may mean that test events scheduled for April could either be moved or scrapped. And there are worries that the subway line connecting Copacabana and Ipanema beach areas to the main Olympic Village area might not be finished in time for the Games.