Balázs Németh, CEO of the company organizing the World Athletics Championships (WAC), said international interest in the event Budapest will host this month is huge, with tickets already purchased in almost a hundred countries for the largest sporting event in Hungary’s history.
“Up until today, tickets have been sold in 99 countries. We expect around 50,000 foreign visitors to come to Budapest exclusively to watch the championships who will spend some 200,000 guest nights here,” Németh told a press conference. “As we have already said, close to one billion people will watch the TV broadcasts around the world, and we want all those on the other side of the globe to see that Hungary, and its capital city Budapest, is one of the world’s best places,” he said in central Erzsébet Square, where a huge countdown board has been set up showing the number of days left until August 19, the start of the event. “We have placed this board here, on this square because on August 19 we will open a Fan Zone here as well, in addition to the one to be set up at the National Athletics Centre, the venue of the championships,” said Németh. In the two fan zones, visitors will have the opportunity to try athletics games, he added.
Preparations for the WAC-related traffic restrictions are underway, he said, asking residents for their understanding. “We have set the world’s most beautiful route for the marathon run in the WAC,” Németh said, noting that its start and finish point would be at Heroes’ Square. “The athletes would run the 10km course along Andrássy Avenue, pass the Hungarian Academy of Sciences to cross the just reopening landmark Chain Bridge to arrive at Várkert Bazaar from where they would make their way back along the same route,” Németh said. He noted that an all-new never-before-used technology, a cable camera would be operated at a height of 40 metres for the transmission of images about Budapest “above and about us, Hungarians, as never seen before”. At a press conference on Monday, World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said that the record-laden athletics season had convinced him that this month’s world championships could be the best of all time in terms of performance, and he was confident there would be big crowds in Budapest “to witness the action”. The event, the third biggest sporting event in the world, is taking place on August 19-27. It will host 2,000 athletes from 200 countries and 3,000 journalists with news coverage reaching some one billion people worldwide.