(ATR) The secretary general of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) has told Around the Rings
that the federation is “disappointed” at a lack of communication from Rio 2016 organizers on the issue of empty seats halfway through their competition.
Empty seats at beach volleyball venue (ATR)
Fernando Lima, from Brazil, was speaking to ATR
at Volleyball House on Copacabana, a short distance from the Beach Volleyball venue that has been one of the standout events to attend at this year’s Games.
However, despite the claims earlier this year that both volleyball and beach volleyball were among the highest selling ticketed events, the members of the FIVB are concerned that they are still seeing scores of empty seats at both Copacabana and the Maracanazinho where volleyball is taking place.
“In regards to tickets the information we have from the organizing committee was that we have a huge number of sales, [yet] we are somehow disappointed every time we see an empty seat” Lima told ATR
“We need to understand exactly what is happening with the empty seats. If those seats have been sold, why is no one sitting in those seats? If they have been given to certain stakeholders why have they not in the end been used, why have they not been received by people who really wanted to go there.
“So we need to understand that. But we know that the number of sales has been excellent for our events, we just need to have more information, information we don’t have at this stage, to understand why we have a certain number of empty seats in certain sessions. Because I think we are always looking for a full venue, that is the ultimate goal.”
Rio 2016 were still selling tickets to beach volleyball and volleyball last month, promising that sessions were affordable costing up to 50 reais. However it seems that the public still has not for some reason packed out the venues as expected.
Beach volleyball at London 2012 was one of the most popular attractions, regularly filling its record 15,000 seat venue in Horse Guards Parade. Lima added that the competition lived by its reputation from Games to Games, particularly the fan reaction and word of mouth, so success in Rio was an integral part of the sport’s future growth in the Games movement.
He continued: “We want to carry from Rio to Tokyo a positive energy in terms of media reaction, fan reaction, sponsor reaction, broadcast reaction - that’s what we would like to achieve in the end.”
Some matches played before sparse crowds (ATR)
Lima also expanded on the discussions the FIVB have had so far with Tokyo and made a point of mentioning how well prepared the 2020 organising committee already are to host the volleyball events at the next Games, perhaps in another veiled criticism of the Rio 2016 experience.
Volleyball events at Tokyo will take place at the planned Ariake Arena, which will apparently be converted into a city gymnasium after the Games. Beach volleyball will take place in Shiozake Park in a temporary venue.
Lima said: “I would say that Tokyo is at this stage really well advanced because we have had reasonable amount of meetings already both in Tokyo and in Lausanne. They already have the plans for the venue, they have plans for traffic for fans, circulation around the venues so their planning has been really great so far.
“I think our experience in Japan is that the delivery usually corresponds to the plan so we’re really pleased to have at this stage a very detailed planning for the Games in Tokyo.”
Beach volleyball at Rio 2016 concludes on Thursday with the men’s finals, with the women’s finals taking place the day before. The volleyball competition runs until the very last day of the Games with the women’s finals on Saturday and the men’s finals on Sunday.
The evaluation of Rio 2016 and plans for Tokyo are sure to be the main topics of discussion when the FIVB meets for its congress in October in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Volleyball House remains open until the end of the Games but only for competitors, the FIVB and invited guests. Once the Games are over, the building will return to its everyday use as a local school.
Written by Christian Radnedge in Rio de Janeiro
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