May 24, 2013
Mark Byrnes – The Atlantic, 05/24/2013
Mane Garrincha National Stadium in Brasilia has begun its second life. With workers hurrying to finish the stadium in time for next month’s FIFA Confederations Cup, Brazil’s capital city’s major stadium had its official inauguration last weekend.
The original Garrincha Stadium was built in 1974, and was considered outdated and incapable of serving the country’s upcoming international sporting events long before being torn down in 2010. It is being rebuilt for $750 million, not only the most expensive stadium of the 12 being erecting in advance of the 2014 World Cup, but the most expensive such project in the country’s history.
Plagued by delays and cost overruns, local officials say the stadium, which is designed to hold more than 70,000 fans, is 97 percent done. Only about 20,000 people were allowed to attend Saturday’s inauguration event. The event itself didn’t go as smoothly as hoped; the Associated Press reported complaints from those in attendance about restroom doors without locks, visible water leaks and poor cell phone reception. The price tag has upset a lot of Brazilians too, amid worries it will struggle to find consistent use after 2014 since Brasilia doesn’t have a team in the country’s top soccer leagues.
May 22, 2013
AP/ABC News, 05/51/2013
Spain’s development minister is urging Brazil to hire some of the engineers that her own economy doesn’t have room for.
Brazil is beefing up its infrastructure ahead of soccer’s World Cup and the Olympics. And Minister Ana Pastor says Spanish engineers could help, if allowed.
She told Brazilian journalists on Tuesday that she has talked with Brazilian officials about cutting red tape that hinders hiring of foreigners. Among the problems is a lengthy process for certifying university degrees.
May 21, 2013
Ian Rodgers – Bleacher Report, 05/21/2013
The preparations for the World Cup finals in Brazil next year are gathering at pace as the country opened its latest stadium in the capital, Brasilia.
The new 72,800-seater National ManéGarrincha Stadium was unveiled on Saturday ahead of its first match, the Federal District league championship final between Brasilia and Brasiliense.
The new stadium is the fifth to be completed and handed over in readiness for the World Cup finals next year following the re-opening of the iconic Maracana Stadium last month, as the Daily Mail reported.
May 15, 2013
AP/ABC News, 05/15/2013
A judge has suspended a preliminary order that blocked the signing of a deal giving a multinational consortium the right to run Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium for 35 years.
Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht, Los Angeles-based sports and entertainment company AEG and the sports and entertainment company IMX, which is owned by Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista, won the contract Thursday.
Then a local judge ruled that the deal couldn’t be finalized ahead of a decision on the legality of the privatization process.
April 23, 2013
Brian Homewood – Reuters, 04/22/2013
The Brazilian government is worried ordinary fans could be priced out of the country’s modernized stadiums in an unwanted legacy from hosting the 2014 World Cup.
Brazil is building two brand new stadiums and remodeling another 10 which will leave the country with a glut of all-seater, state-of-the-art arenas once next year’s tournament is finished.
It will be a new experience for many Brazilian fans who for years have had to put up with dilapidated arenas, dubious catering and overflowing toilets.
April 23, 2013
AP/ABC News, 04/22/2013
An officer in the Brazilian army’s counterterrorism division says about 600 soldiers will be taking part in security operations during the upcoming Confederations Cup.
The G1 news website quoted Col. Richard Fernandez Nunes on Monday as saying an additional 250 specialists in identifying threats from chemical, biological and nuclear threats will be also conducting sweeps during the June 15-30 football tournament.
The six Brazilian cities hosting Confederations Cup matches will each be assigned a counterterrorism team. Brazil is also hosting next year’s World Cup, and Nunes says all 12 of the tournament’s host cities will have such teams.
April 23, 2013
Agustino Fontevecchia – Forbes, 04/22/2013
The tide may have turned for Nike. The athletic footwear company seems poised to see continued margin expansion and the return of profitability in China over the next year. Emboldened by recent success, management appears confident in the strength of its brand and its capacity to raise prices. Nike also has a double whammy of an opportunity inBrazil, with the coming World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. The stock currently trades around $60 a share, but it could top $80 if things go their way, according to UBS ’ equity research team.
Nike has zigzagged over the past year, its stock falling precipitously and surging dramatically on any indication that margins were set to either expand or compress. After its latest earnings report, where the company revealed margin expansion for the first time in two years, Wall Street has once again gone bullish.
In a thorough note released Monday, UBS’ Michael Binetti made the case for buying the stock, expecting solid returns over the next two years. After meeting with management, Binetti spoke of a “very optimistic top line outlook from the company over the next few years,” pointing at “a deep innovation pipeline in premium footwear.”
March 18, 2013
Kristene Quan – Time, 03/17/2013
The lake in Rio de Janeiro where rowers will compete at the 2016 Olympics Games has been filled with an estimated 65 tons of dead fish, according to the Herald Sun.
The water in the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon became deoxygenated after storms last week washed “a large amount of organic matter” into the lake, leading to the death of thousands of fish called shad, the Guardian reported.
Rio’s municipal department of the environment launched a two-day emergency clean-up operation with 100 municipal workers to remove the dead fish from the lake, which is located in the heart of the city and a popular tourist attraction, the Daily Mail noted.
March 5, 2013
Sports Illustrated, 03/05/2013
Ray Chang drove in two runs Tuesday and China rallied with five runs in the bottom of the eighth to beat Brazil 5-2 in Group A of the World Baseball Classic.
Brazil led 2-0 in the eighth but China scored its first run on a bases-loaded walk before Chang hit a soft fly ball to left field that scored two and gave the Chinese a 3-2 lead.
“It was a very gratifying win because our kids are not used to this,” China manager John McLaren said. “Both teams played well, both teams could have won but we were fortunate to get the big inning at the end there.”
February 25, 2013
Andrew Downie – Global Post, 02/25/2013
Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of Brazilian soccer knows the players who have lit up the field over the last half-century. Pele, Ronaldo, Zico and Romario may go by just one name, but they need no introduction.
The spectacle is no less heart-stopping in the stands. From the crackle and boom of fireworks to the shirtless hordes chanting support for their teams and the unfurling of flags almost as large as the field itself, soccer matches in Brazil are a riot (sometimes literally) of noise and passion.
However, many worry that the construction of 14 new stadiums, 12 of which will be used to host matches in next year’s World Cup, is threatening to tear the heart and soul from the beautiful game.