(Bloomberg) — With less than two months before the start of the 2016 Olympic Games, Brazilian authorities are scrambling to finish a subway expansion and the velodrome. They’re also trying to assuage fears about the Zika virus. And the country is in an unprecedented economic and political crisis.
Against this backdrop, Sports Minister Leonardo Picciani said that Rio 2016 organizers are seeking more sponsorship from state companies to shore up resources for the opening ceremony, which has a budget of 250 million reais ($72.9 million).
No decisions have been made about which company, though Picciani mentioned both Rio de Janeiro-based Petroleo Brasileiro SA, the postal service and export and investment agency Apex-Brasil, as well as state-controlled banks. Brazil’s acting president Michel Temer and IOC President Thomas Bach will meet with Picciani next week to discuss possible sponsors
The Lausanne, Switzerland-based IOC is looking for more financial wiggle-room, said Picciani in an interview at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. “They have brought up issues of currency fluctuations, but even if the government or any state-owned company doesn’t sponsor the event, they have their own contingency plans.”
With regard to the subway, the minister said the new line is expected to be finished by Aug. 1 or 2, just before the Aug. 5 Opening Ceremony. The expansion is critical to transporting Olympics employees and volunteers to the Olympic Park in Barra de Tijuca, some 20 miles away from Rio’s well-known Copacabana and Ipanema hotel districts — and more than an hour by taxi with regular traffic.
“The contingency plan, only if necessary, will be the use of the BRT, the fast-lane buses,” he said. “But our conviction as of today is that the subway system will be working.”