Despite concerns of chaos, stadium inauguration goes smoothly

March 28, 2011

Predictions of massive traffic jams and chaos in the hours before the grand opening of Costa Rica’s National Stadium this weekend were not realized.

Police presence in La Sabana Park was significant, while traffic cops maintained a slow and steady stream of traffic on streets outlying the new coliseum.

The wait to enter the stadium was not long, and guests entered through nine different gates, where young ushers helped them find their seats.

Though local business owners had predicted that sales on inauguration day would significantly increase, many restaurants and other businesses near the stadium didn’t see a drastic increase in profits.

“It is just as any given Saturday. I believe the reason for this is the lack of a disorganized, pushy crowd waiting long hours to enter the stadium,” said a waiter at Picadillo Restaurant in southwest Sabana. The waiter asked that his name not be published.

While most of the crowd seemed satisfied, ticket scalpers were less fortunate, as few people bought scalped tickets at inflated prices. A few minutes before the soccer match between Costa Rica and China began, ticket resale prices dropped dramatically.

“We’ll have better luck during the Shakira concert,” said Regina Carmona, an elderly woman who had traveled all the way from the Caribbean coastal city of Limón to resell tickets.

Advertisers did not miss their chance to spread their messages by using creative sales techniques. Groups of people disguised as Chinese construction workers handed out cracker samples, while people in giant medication pill costumes handed out fliers to attract customers.

Some of those freebies ended up as trash on the ground. The Municipality of San José reported 50 tons of garbage generated by attendees at the stadium’s opening day.

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