Rio 2016 Olympic show to cost 'less than London'

By Alex Ritson
Business reporter, BBC World Service

image copyrightGetty Images

The chief executive of the company hired to stage the opening ceremony of the upcoming Rio Olympics has told the BBC the show will cost less than London's in 2012.

Antonio Abete adds he is 100% confident everything will go ahead as planned.

At a time of economic crisis in Brazil, they are doing it on a strict budget.

But his team are promising a spectacle that will be bigger and better than London 2012, which cost $40m (£31m), and was directed by Danny Boyle.

Mr Abete works for Filmmaster Events, and is answerable to the International Olympic Committee for delivering a show that will be watched by a global audience of around three billion people.

"The budget is completely different. We cannot say the real numbers, firstly because we are not allowed, but secondly because it's really difficult to know what the real number is.

"It's much less than London. It's because in Brazil everyone knows what the situation is, economically and politically. It's correct to invest money in the opening ceremony, but I think it's also correct to invest the right money.

"We are completely confident we can create an amazing show, without spending the huge amounts that the previous Olympic ceremonies had."

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe opening ceremony for London 2012 was directed by Danny Boyle

So, what will actually be in the opening ceremony?

As usual, the plan will be for national teams to arrive in the Maracanã stadium to the cheers of the world.

The creative directors are Brazilian filmmakers Fernando Meirelles and Daniela Thomas, with a cast of some 6,000 volunteers.

The internet is full of rumours of new technology - such as drones - being used, to be merged with samba and carnival themes to create an aerial display to remember. Antonio Abete gives a tight-lipped smile.

image copyrightAntonio Abete
image captionMr Abete is answerable to the International Olympic Committee for delivering a show watched by around three billion people

"Now you are asking me to tell you something that is secret, but I will tell you something. Usually the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games focuses on the culture and the history of the host country. In this case, we'll be different, because Brazil is an incredible country.

"In Brazil you cannot find only one culture, but more than one. Let me say, more than two, three or four. So, it will be a mix, and we will create a show, the biggest event in the world, not just Brazillian culture but world culture."

The secret will be out in less than a month, with the ceremony taking place on Friday, 5 August.

The full interview can be heard on BBC World Service radio on World Business Report at 1830 BST on Friday, 8 July, and again on Business Matters at 0100 BST on Saturday, 9 July.

You can also watch it on an edition of BBC Facebook Live

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