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  • Olympic Ceremonies Producer Explains Rio Departure


    (ATR) Noted ceremonies producer Ric Birch tells Around the Rings that reports he has just parted ways with Rio 2016 because of budget cuts are not accurate.

    Ric Birch at Athens 2004 Olympics (ATR)
    The Australian director, through his company Spectak Productions, has been a part of five Olympic Games opening and closing ceremonies. Initially he was part of the Rio 2016 production team but left months ago when the first wave of budget cuts hit Rio 2016.

    “I hadn’t been involved since the budget cuts because the costs of flying and accommodating me were now getting expensive for the organizers,” Birch said to ATR. “I said I would be happy to go to Rio if necessary. On the other hand, everything is on track and the people there are great, so there’s really no need for me to be there anymore.”

    Due to a shrinking economy Rio 2016 has had to cut services to ensure that there is no deficit from the $1.86 billion operating budget. The government of Brazil could not guarantee paying for cost overruns.

    According to Birch the current budget for the ceremonies stands at around $50 million, “or maybe less,” down from the $200 million originally pitched from producers. To help with the reduction in funds, the ceremonies' producers sought out sponsors, such as Panasonic, to supply equipment for the production.

    Birch, like the four directors for the 2016 ceremonies, believes that the reduced budget will be more than enough to capture the spirit of the city of Rio de Janeiro and the feeling of the first South American Olympiad.

    “That’s still a lot of money, and more than enough for good ceremonies,” Birch added.

    “It just means that some technical wizardry may not be affordable. That is not what Rio is famous for anyway. International viewers will be looking at music, dance, energy and a young and diverse cast, rather than expecting hi-tech tricks.”

    Written by Aaron Bauer in Rio de Janeiro

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