Olympics: Fewer than half of Rio Games tickets sold, say organisers

(REUTERS) - Organisers for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics have sold fewer than half of all tickets so far with about five months to go until the first Games in South America, they said on Wednesday.

A total of 7.5 million tickets were issued for the Aug 5-21 Games.

"About 47 per cent of tickets have been sold," Rio 2016 communications director Mario Andrada told reporters following a progress report by organisers to the International Olympic Committee.

Brazil has been struggling with political turmoil, an economic downturn and the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which have all contributed to rocky preparations for the Games, awarded to Rio in 2009.

Andrada said ticket revenues had reached 74 per cent - or $194 million (S$272 million) - of the overall target, mainly due to more expensive tickets for premium events and the opening ceremony having been sold already.

"The premium events and the opening ceremony are technically sold out," he said.

The 2012 Olympics in London reached its revenue target from ticket sales months before the start due to huge demand. London sold 8.2 million out of the 8.5 million issued for the Games.