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Brazil seeking to increase Summer Olympics ticket sales as only half sold

By Andrew V. Pestano
The 2016 Summer Olympic Games are set to open in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 5, 2016. But only half the tickets have been sold, as Brazil struggles to contain the Zika virus and deal with several other issues, including political dissent, crime and the threat of a terrorist attack. File photo by Ververidis Vasilis/Shutterstock
The 2016 Summer Olympic Games are set to open in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 5, 2016. But only half the tickets have been sold, as Brazil struggles to contain the Zika virus and deal with several other issues, including political dissent, crime and the threat of a terrorist attack. File photo by Ververidis Vasilis/Shutterstock

BRASILIA, Brazil, April 4 (UPI) -- Brazil has only sold about half the tickets for the Olympic Games and the country's new sports minister says he will work to increase sales before the event begins in just four months.

Richardo Leyser was named Brazil's sports minister after George Hilton resigned on March 30. Leyser told Brazilian newspaper Folha that the Brazilian government needs to take decisive steps to ensure the event is a success.

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Leyser said officials need to calm the public's anxiety over travel to Brazil, which is facing multiple issues and controversies. It is also unclear if construction of Olympic facilities will be completed due to budget constraints.

Issues surrounding the 2016 Summer Olympic Games include the Zika virus, high crime rates, international terrorism, a crippling recession and political turmoil. At massive gatherings, protesters continue to call for President Dilma Rousseff's resignation.

The Brazilian government may buy tickets for distribution at public schools to increase attendance at events. Brazil has previously said it plans to deploy twice as many security officers than London used for the games in 2012.

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