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Rio's posh corporate hospitality

Thursday, August 18, 2016 - 01:32

Companies like Omega and Cisco Systems have built lavish hospitality houses to entertain guests at the Rio Games, but some are over the top, as Jane Lee reports.

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PLEASE NOTE: AUDIO IS MIXED Some call it the 29th sport in the Olympic Games - hospitality house hopping. You need a connection to get into the parties at lavish places like the Omega house - to sip a caipirinha while swinging next to this water fall. Olympic medalists - their friends and family - and pop stars get the red carpet. Phelps of course was there. These hospitality houses started in 1992 at the Barcelona games, but have become much more over the top since then, says Reuters Liana Baker. SOUNDBITE: LIANA BAKER, CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Some executives like the U.S. president of Asics, the sneaker company, told me that there's too many houses. It's a lot of clutter and that companies are wasting money trying to market at the Olympics when maybe they could be using the money for something else like boosting participation in sports." While such extravagance has drawn criticism in a city suffering from its worst recession in 80 years, where one in five live in slums, there is some benefit to Rio. SOUNDBITE: LIANA BAKER, CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Cisco the networking company renovated a restaurant right in the shadow of sugarloaf mountain. Omega renovated a cultural center that's behind me so they're putting a lot of money into these houses but then when they leave there is a legacy for the local community to have this event space." Still it's been a challenge to pull this off in Rio - a city notoriously dangerous.

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Rio's posh corporate hospitality

Thursday, August 18, 2016 - 01:32