Brazil World Cup stadiums symbol of tournament’s dubious legacy

Vivek Chaudhary – ESPN FC, 6/20/2015

As Brazil marks one year since hosting the World Cup, it reflects on the tournament’s checkered legacy. More than $3 billion was spent on building five new stadiums and renovating seven existing ones, but many of these so-called white elephants are as likely now to collect dust as they are to generate ticket receipts.

“When I look back on the 2014 World Cup, it is not good,” the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, told ESPN FC. “Brazil was left with some great stadiums, but they were too expensive because of corruption.

“Brazilians have not benefited from the tournament. There has been no legacy for them. The World Cup still makes them angry. There is regret that we even staged it.”

Read more… 

U.S. probes Nike payments Under Brazil deal

Aruna Viswanatha and Sara Germano – The Wall Street Journal, 6/12/2015

U.S. authorities are examining payments made by Nike Inc. under a groundbreaking 1996 soccer sponsorship with Brazil for possible evidence of any wrongdoing by the company in addition to its counterparts in the deal, people familiar with the matter said.

The examination indicates the company is still of interest as the Justice Department pursues its wide-ranging probe of corruption in the global soccer business.

Allegations of corruption around Nike’s 10-year, $160 million agreement to sponsor Brazil’s national team are discussed in barely veiled terms in the Justice Department’s 161-page indictment of officials in and around soccer’s governing body, FIFA.

Read more…

In Brazil, FIFA scandal met with sense of vindication

Taylor Barnes, USA Today – 5/28/2015

As word of the arrests of 14 FIFA officials and sports executives spread, many Brazilians responded with surprise, a measure of support and a sense of vindication over the news.

The country has seen large-scale protests since 2013, often directed at the government with many exasperated with expenditures on last year’s World Cup and the Summer Olympics, which Rio de Janeiro will host next year.

In the year since the World Cup, outsize stadiums built in cities across Brazil that do not have soccer clubs large enough to fill them have reportedly been used as bus parking lots, and venues to host children’s parties, weddings and religious events.

Read more…

Brazil’s Fans Turn to Violent Crime as Economy Sputters

Eric Ehrmann – Huffington Post, 5/12/2015

In São Paulo recently, gunmen raided the fan club of popular first division soccer team Corinthians called Pavilion 9 during a party, forced eight members to the floor and murdered them in cold blood.

The mob-style rubout killed more people than the infamous St. Valentines Day Massacre orchestrated by Chicago gangster Al Capone.

But in Brazil, where riots and killings are part of the urban landscape, people shrug it off and the victims become part of the body count in the growing conflict between haves and have-nots.

Read more…

Brazil’s World Cup Legacy Includes $550M Stadium-Turned-Parking Lot

Lourdes Garcia-Navarro – NPR, 5/11/2015

It has been almost a year since the World Cup in Brazil. The party is long over, but the country is still dealing with the hangover — in the form of “white elephant” stadiums and unfinished infrastructure projects. They come at a time when the country faces economic woes and the prospect of another expensive mega event: next year’s summer Olympics.

The most expensive World Cup stadium — located in the capital, Brasilia, and with a price tag of $550 million — is being used as a parking lot for buses.

The stadium in Cuiaba — which cost some $215 million to build — has made news repeatedly: first for being closed down because of faulty construction, and then recently for the homeless people squatting in its unused locker rooms.

Read more…

Brazil struggles with drought and pollution as Olympics loom large

Matthew Wheeland – The Guardian, 5/4/2015

Amid what is normally considered the rainy season, Brazil, the home of the Amazon River, is suffering from a historic, punishing drought.

In a country accustomed to ample water supplies, neighbors are turning against neighbors and hoarding water as taps run dry while businesses close and protesters take to the streets. Some have even speculated that São Paulo, one of the world’s largest cities, is failing.

The costs of a drought are many – water rationing, fines for consumption and constraints on agriculture and industrial production. But for Brazil, a water shortage also leads to another problem: more than 75% of Brazil’s power comes from hydroelectric sources, making it second only to China in reliance on hydroelectric power.

Read more…

FIFA made an insane amount of money off of Brazil’s $15 billion World Cup

Tony Manfred – Business Insider, 3/20/2015

FIFA released its 2014 financial report, and it shows how the organization profited off the World Cup that cost Brazil billions. The 2014 World Cup generated $4.8 billion in revenue for FIFA compared to $2.2 billion in expenses. Over the four-year cycle, the event turned a $2.6 billion profit.

FIFA made $2.4 billion in TV rights fees, $1.6 billion in sponsorships, and $527 million in ticket sales.

Much of FIFA’s World Cup spending went to participating teams and confederations ($476 million) and TV production costs ($370 million). FIFA contributed $453 million to the local organizing committee between 2011 and 2014, and gave Brazil a $100 million “legacy” payment after the tournament.

Read more…