Here's The Price Tag On The Rio Opening Ceremony

by Joseph D. Lyons

More than 217 million viewers tuned in to see the London Olympics, and nearly 41 million of them watched the opening ceremony. That could be dwarfed this year in Rio if audiences continue to build as they have in recent years. But what exactly will they be tuning into? Of course, the details of the show are hush hush until the magic is revealed to the world Aug. 5, but what about the budget? How much did the Rio opening ceremony cost?

That's a delicate question, given the state of the Brazilian economy and the general cost overruns of the Rio games. But there is one benchmark that Antonio Abete, one of the planners, is willing to give. Abete, who works for the show's producer Filmmaster Events, told BBC News that the costs will be less than London's opening ceremony in 2012. The price tag on that was about $40 million. Theoretically, if the opening ceremony will cost more than $0 but less than $40 million, that's still a big window.

Abete said that he's confident they'll put on a good show, but there are reasons why it will cost less:

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.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

At one point last September, the ceremony was to cost just 10 percent of London, or about $4 million. At that time, Fernando Meirelles, a director of ceremonies, said that the recession was firmly to blame: "We are in a financial crisis, everybody knows. It wouldn't be fair to spend money that London spent in their ceremony." But Abete did not make those claims last month when he spoke to BBC News, so the budget may have ballooned.

Most every other budget related to the games has increased. Recent reports, including one in the Financial Times, have covered Rio's difficulties in pulling off the world's largest event of the year. A lot of attention was given to the expansion of Rio's subway line to the richer neighborhood where many of the Olympic events will be held. That finally opened Monday, right in time for the opening ceremony.

Now that the crowds can get there, you can join them by tuning in on TV. Exactly what is in store remains a mystery, but whatever shows they break out, the cost is no more than London's $40 million.