The 1980 Olympic cauldron inside Minsk Dynamo Stadium (Pinelli).
(ATR) Minsk 2019 head of marketing Maxim Koshkalda tells Around the Rings that ticket sales for next month’s European Games in Minsk have been robust. But he says ample opportunities remain for spectators to visit the Belarusian capital.
The European Games take place June 21 to 30.
Competitions will be held in 15 sports and 23 disciplines across 12 competition venues. Events in eight sports will also serve as qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The recently renovated Dinamo Stadium – which opened in 1934 and was home to soccer matches during the 1980 Moscow Olympics – has a seating capacity of 22,246. Both ceremonies and athletics will be held here with tickets still available.
Koshkalda also addressed Belarus’ visa-free entry policy and what will make the second edition European Games stand out.
Around the Rings:
With less than 50 days to go to the opening of the Games, what is the current status regarding with ticket sales? What events are sold out and what is available?
We all know that not even the Olympics are being sold at full. Obviously for Belarus, there are a number of sports that have never been sold in the country before these second European Games.
We have very good statistics with international sales. What I would say is in line with Olympic international sales where 15 to 20 percent are internationally bought tickets.
We have a number of arenas that are sold out – this is beach soccer and I’d really love to have a bigger stadium for this sport.
We have sold quite a number for gymnastics, which is our leading sport. We have sold almost all tickets for shooting –both rifle pistol, and skeet and trap. We are working on bringing more chairs and space for people to attend these events.
There are a number of sports that have sold more than 70%. I expect full arenas in at least 85% of the sporting disciplines as we are having more than 110 sport sessions.
: What about the ceremonies at Minsk Dinamo Stadium?
Outside the recently refurbished Minsk Dynamo Stadium (Pinelli)
The opening and closing ceremonies, which will be a fantastic show, are about 70 percent sold out. They are still available because we are working really hard with our sub-contractors trying to persuade them to take away their audio guys and MC’s away from the tribune to create more space.
Little by little, we are grabbing more space for spectators.
And with our TV cameras we have succeeded to take them away, move them and create better views for the spectators.
Athletics is also here at the 22,000 seat stadium and is one of the best sellers – we are around 50% of the capacity right now.
: What can the athletes, visitors and spectators expect when they arrive to Minsk for these Games?
: We have a presidential decision that you can enter the country holding tickets for events, without a visa for 30 days through any border. Even if you enter with your vehicle you
don’t have to pay for the toll road. This is a huge achievement and we expect that it will bring in more people. We have created this 30-day period because we understand that sport is not the only core for the Games.
It is not the only about the top athletes coming to qualify for Tokyo 2020 and fight for European titles. We are creating a festival around the games There will also be three fan zones and one festival zone with concerts and a lot of social and cultural programs. We’re even having side events with exhibition sports like skateboarding, which is now an Olympic sport. It will be a huge 30-day program where you can travel all around Belarus during this period.
Koshkalda, a graduate of the IOC's MEMOS program with IOC President Bach (Koshkalda).
: Following the inaugural edition in Baku in 2015, what will make these the best European Games ever?
The whole country is involved with the European Games – the government institutions and private companies, the sponsors, opinion leaders and the common people. This means
everything that goes into the organizational part will be top notch. We expect full arenas. The city of Minsk will not only lead with sport, but also with entertainment, fan zones and festivals for all the supporters and guests.
We expect that the athletes will really come to perform and show themselves because the second European Games in the matter of the representation of the top athletes really has more
value compared with the previous edition.
I think that many countries of Eastern and central Europe will be jealous when they come and see what is going to be in Minsk.
Koshkalda is a graduate of the IOC’s Master Executive Management of Olympic Sport (MEMOS) program and serves as marketing supervisor for the European Handball Federation
Champions League. Previously, he led the volunteers program for the Minsk 2014 International Ice Hockey World Championship.
Interview by Brian Pinelli
For general comments or questions, click here.
25 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics is AroundTheRings.com, for subscribers only.