Pan Am Games Enthusiasm High, Even When Attendance Low: Organizers

TORONTO — Organizers for the Pan Am Games say enthusiasm at the competitions is high even when attendance isn't.

The head of the Games organizing committee confirms that while small venues filled up on Saturday, the crowd was more sparse at some of the larger ones.

But Saad Rafi says those who were there showed their excitement loud and clear.

Rafi says attendance is higher when Canada is competing and he expects more people to start paying attention as the Games continue.

He says daily ticket sales doubled to roughly 20,000 on Saturday, the first full day of competition.

On Friday, total ticket sales were around 850,000. There are 1.4 million available for the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.

"We have some big stadiums," Rafi said. "It's not going to be easy to fill a 23,000- (to) 24,000-seat stadium such as the CIBC soccer stadium every single preliminary, morning, afternoon, morning, afternoon, every day."

"The sole objective is not necessarily full stands, it's loud cheering spectators," and that's already happening, he said.

He described seeing full stands at the aquatics centre Saturday, with "red and white flags everywhere" and cheering sections for both the U.S. and Mexico.

The Canadian Press

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