KAZAN, July 16 (R-Sport) - The World University Games in Kazan have attracted 770,000 spectators, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said Tuesday, surpassing earlier estimates by the Tatarstan regional government and the International University Sports Federation (FISU).
"The games are not over yet, but we can say that they were successful," Mutko told a press conference on the second-last day of the 27th Universiade.
It was unclear Tuesday how the sports ministry calculated the total of 770,000 fans. The Tatarstan government said last week more than 500,000 tickets had been sold for the Universiade's 27 events, while FISU, the officiating body for the Student Games, put the total at roughly 100,000.
Mutko's announcement comes amid concern inside the Universiade organizing committee that the games have not drawn as many fans as expected. Audience figures for past Universiades were not immediately available.
While swimming, gymnastics and basketball have unquestionably drawn throngs of spectators, organizing committee deputy general manager Igor Sivov issued a quasi-apology last week for the sparse crowds at many events, claiming some people had bought tickets but failed to show up.
Also Tuesday, Mutko reiterated Saturday's claim that 3 billion viewers in 115 countries have watched the Universiade on TV. That total was arrived at "according to our data," Mutko explained.
The Universiade, in which roughly 10,000-athletes participated and which has been hailed by the Russian authorities as a precursor to the Sochi Olympics next February, ends on Wednesday.