Rio Olympics organizers can glean lessons from Brazil’s World Cup

July 21, 2014

Mimi Whitefield – Miami Herald, 7/19/2014

Brazil has barely said tchau to the World Cup, but it has no time for a breather. In two years, Rio de Janeiro will be throwing out a welcome mat to the world as host of the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Only three countries — the United States, the former West Germany and Mexico — have had such a short turnaround between hosting duties for the two biggest sports events on the planet. In the 1930s, however, both the United States and Germany hosted summer and winter Olympics in the same year.

Despite misgivings about everything from security to transportation to whether stadiums would be finished on time, Brazil managed to pull off a successful FIFA World Cup. That’s a positive omen for the Aug. 5-21, 2016 Olympics and Sept. 7-18 Paralympics.

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Brazil claims ‘victory’ in World Cup

July 17, 2014

Talia Marcopoto – CNN, 7/16/2014

Brazil’s national football team may have been smoked on the pitch by Germany, but now government officials are claiming a 2014 FIFA World Cup victory of another sort.

According to figures released this week by Brazil’s federal government, the World Cup was a triumph for the country’s transportation and tourism industries.

“We lost the trophy, but Brazil won the World Cup,” said Aloisio Mercadante, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff’s chief of staff, in a statement.

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Brazil takes stock after World Cup comes to an end

July 15, 2014

Kevin Baxter and Vincent Bevins – Los Angeles Times, 7/14/2014

As the last of the World Cup visitors headed for the airports Monday, Brazilians began to reclaim the pristine beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema while traffic in Sao Paulo returned to its regular weekday snarl and the seaside hotels in Salvador, Recife and Natal emptied.

After seven years of planning and 31 days of competition, the most expensive soccer tournament in history is over. And the dire predictions that street demonstrations, massive transportation breakdowns and construction delays would disrupt the event proved unfounded, with Brazil’s tournament ranking among the most successful in World Cup history.

“We’ve eliminated the doubts of all who didn’t believe in us,” President Dilma Rousseff told a gathering of foreign journalists.

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Blatter Awards Brazil 9.25 Mark for Special WCup

July 15, 2014

Graham Dunbar – ABC News, 7/14/2014

Brazil got 9.25 out of 10 from FIFA President Sepp Blatter for organizing a World Cup that was “very special” because of high quality football.

Giving his tournament report on Monday, Blatter also criticized the organization he heads for not better tackling incidents of fan discrimination in stadiums.

Blatter said he spoke with Russia President Vladimir Putin at Sunday’s final about making the issue a priority at the 2018 World Cup there.

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Brazilians likely to give government a ‘pass’ over World Cup

July 14, 2014

Larisa Epatko – PBS Newshour, 7/11/2014

The FIFA World Cup, which ends Sunday, has been a rollercoaster ride for Brazilians and no less so for the government.

When Brazil was playing well and advancing, President Dilma Rousseff rode the wave, visibly supporting the team and the tournament.

After Brazilian soccer star — known to fans simply by his first name Neymar — hurt his back during a match, taking him out of the rest of the tournament, Rousseff called him a “warrior” in a public letter of encouragement.

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Brazil’s man of the people

July 8, 2014, 7/7/2014

“Look at him, our very own Mother Teresa of Calcutta. If he decided to run for the senate tomorrow, he’d get elected.”

David Luiz can do no wrong at the moment, as those words, uttered by a member of the Brazil team’s delegation, confirm. No sooner had he completed his barnstorming performance in Brazil’s quarter-final defeat of Colombia at the Arena Castelao last Friday, during which he ran more than eight kilometres, than the centre-half sportingly asked the stadium to rise and applaud Cafetero playmaker James Rodriguez.

After then playing his part in ensuring that one of the match balls found its way into the Brazil dressing room so that it could be autographed by the players, he continued his post-match tour de force, making his way to the mixed zone, where he gave no fewer than eight straight interviews, two of them in English, attending to each interviewer’s needs with perfect good grace.

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Nike World Cup Jersey Price Cut 35% as Fakes Abound in Brazil

July 8, 2014

Alex Duff – Bloomberg, 7/7/2014

Brazil’s Nike Inc. (NKE) soccer jersey is selling for 35 percent off in some stores in the host nation ahead of the World Cupsemifinal as many fans are buying fake versions instead.

Grupo SBF’s Centauro unit, the biggest sports retailer in Brazil with 150 stores, reduced the price of its main replica jersey by 35 percent to 149 reais ($67) late last month, according to staff interviewed in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte. Brazil plays Germany, which is outfitted by Nike competitor Adidas AG, today for a place in the July 13 final.

The initial jersey price of 229 reais — almost one-third of the monthly minimum wage – is prohibitive for most of Brazil’s 200 million people, many of whom are buying from a “gigantic” black market of national-team apparel, Amir Somoggi, a sports marketing consultant in Sao Paulo, said. Nike pays about $60 million to the Brazilian soccer federation for the sponsorship, according to Somoggi.

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Rousseff Scores World Cup Win as Brazil’s Team Worries Fans

July 2, 2014

Raymond Colitt – Bloomberg, 7/2/2014

Brazil’s national team must still win two games to make it to the World Cup final. President Dilma Rousseff has already won, scoring ahead of October’s elections as the tournament so far has the whiff of success.

Protests that last year torpedoed Rousseff’s popularity have largely vanished. Brazil’s airports, stadiums and security forces, contrary to widespread concerns, have lived up to the challenge. Discontent with delays and cost overruns in the run-up to the games, exacerbated by bus, subway and police strikes, have given way to excitement over a tourney that has already seen more goals scored than in the 2010 cup.

The change in mood regarding the mega-event that soccer-crazed Brazil awaited for seven years is a lifeline for Rousseff, whose popularity had plummeted 27 percentage points in June from a year earlier. A slide of her approval ratings fueled speculation the opposition would regain power after 12 years. Having halted the decline, Rousseff remains the favorite to win re-election on Oct. 5, said Christopher Garman, director of emerging markets and Latin America at Eurasia Group consulting firm in Washington.

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The lack of black faces in the crowds shows Brazil is no true rainbow nation

July 2, 2014

Felipe Araujo – The Guardian, 7/1/2014

Remember the Where’s Wally books? They consisted of a series of detailed double-page spread illustrations depicting hundreds of people doing a variety of amusing things. Readers were then challenged to find a character named Wally hidden in the crowd.

Covering the World Cup in Brazil as a journalist, I find myself playing a similar game whenever I enter a packed stadium, only this time the question is a bit more serious. Where are all the black folk? I’ve been to five host cities so far and each time the answer was never easy to come by – I’ve even missed goals while looking through the crowd.

Salvador is the most Afrocentric city in Brazil. At the Germany v Portugal game, however, if I didn’t know any better I would think I was in Kansas.

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