Never mind the World Cup, fans in Brazil and across the world tune in to Super Bowl

February 3, 2015

AP – Fox News Latino, 2/2/2015

The Super Bowl is a winter event, but in Rio de Janeiro, a mix of Brazilians and expatriates sweltered on a steamy night to celebrate the NFL championship game in their own way.

Among the fans jammed into Shenanigan’s Sports Bar, just two blocks from the city’s famed Ipanema beach, Brazilian Milena Lozano — wearing a Patriots jersey emblazoned with Tom Brady’s No. 12 — said she likes American football because it’s “more intellectual” than Brazil’s beloved soccer.

“It’s a little different dynamic than our soccer,” the 19-year-old said. “It’s a little more sophisticated than just go and score a goal.”

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Local government pulls plug on Indy race in Brazil

February 3, 2015

Noah Joseph – Autoblog, 2/3/2015

It looks as though the IndyCar Series will be bumped back to running exclusively in North America this season after the planned race in Brazil has been canceled.

The announcement made late last week left many questions unanswered, but subsequent reports indicate that it was the local government in the capital of Brasilia who pulled the plug. Apparently facing backlash over the enormous cost of hosting the FIFA World Cup last year amidst rampant poverty in the country, government officials have been under increased scrutiny over the costs associated with hosting international sporting competitions. The planned return of the MotoGP race in Brasilia was also canceled for the second year in a row.

To make matters worse, a reported two thirds of the tickets had already been sold, renovations to the Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet were well under way, and a sponsor for the race was due to be announced within days. Series organizers, however, say that both they and the participating teams are protected financially for just such an eventuality.

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Rio official says there’s ‘no plan B’ for Olympic sailing

January 27, 2015

AP – The Washington Post, 1/27/2015

Rio de Janeiro Olympic organizers said Tuesday they have “no plan B” for the 2016 games’ sailing competitions, despite a recent admission by the state’s top environment official that it will be impossible to meet pledges to clean up the raw sewage- and trash-filled waters where the events are to be staged.

Mario Andrade, spokesman of the Rio 2016 organizing committee insisted the sailing competitions “will be held in the Guanabara Bay, under the best possible Olympic conditions.”’

Guanabara Bay has become a hot-button issue ahead of the 2016 games. It stinks of raw sewage and is dotted with abandoned couches, refrigerators and animal carcasses as well as, at low tide, with islands of human waste. Athletes have described the bay as an “open sewer” and raised concerns about hepatitis and other illnesses, as well as the possibility of potentially catastrophic high-speed collisions with floating detritus.

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Brazil official: Rio won’t meet Olympic water cleanup pledge

January 23, 2015

AP – USA Today, 1/23/2015

Rio de Janeiro will not make good on its Olympic pledge of slashing the flow of raw sewage and garbage into the Guanabara Bay, where the 2016 games’ sailing and wind surfing competitions are to be held, the state’s top environmental official acknowledged Friday.

Brazilian official’s promise to cut the flow of pollutants into the bay by 80 percent was a key part of the city’s Olympic bid document and widely held up as among the most enduring legacies of the games. But with just 1 1/2 years to go before the showcase event, it has become increasingly clear that the target wouldn’t be met.

Rio’s new state Environment Secretary, Andre Correa, told reporters he couldn’t provide an estimate of how much officials would actually succeed in cutting the flow of pollutants into the bay.

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Surfing community stunned after Brazil’s Ricardo dos Santos shot dead

January 21, 2015

Jethro Mullen – CNN, 01/21/2014

Brazilian surf star Ricardo dos Santos has died after reportedly being shot by an off-duty police officer.

Heartbroken tributes poured in from the 24-year-old’s surfing peers.

“An incredible human being!” wrote Carlos Burle, another top Brazilian surfer, in a post on Instagram. He said dos Santos had “a whole life ahead of him.”

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Rio Olympics Won’t Help Brazil’s Economy if the World Cup Is Any Guide

January 16, 2015

Raymond Colitt – Bloomberg, 1/16/2015

The 2016 Olympics will be no panacea for Brazil’s faltering economy if last year’s World Cup is any guide. Contrary to government projections, Brazil has failed to lure to its beaches and jungles many of the 3.5 billion TV viewers that followed the tournament.

The flow of tourists to the country, which spent more to host the mega-event than any nation before it, has remained flat from a year earlier since the final match July 13, according to tour operators and an online search engine. Spending by foreign visitors fell 7.4 percent from August through November, compared with a year earlier, central bank data shows.

From the rhythms of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro to the Amazon forest and Iguassu Falls, Brazil boasts some of the world’s outstanding travel attractions. Yet several hurdles, from high costs and violence to poor marketing and logistics, mean many potential visitors choose to go elsewhere, said Diogo Canteras, partner at hotel consulting firm HotelInvest.

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Brazil crowds up but stadium usage still problematic

December 23, 2014

Andrew Downie – Reuters, 12/23/2014

The average attendance at Brazil’s new arenas in the five months since the World Cup was higher than the league mean but stadiums in cities without major clubs are in danger of becoming white elephants, studies and experts said.

The average attendance at all games in the 12 stadiums was 18,300, just above the 16,562 recorded over the season in Brazil’s Serie A, statistics compiled by the Folha de S.Paulo and Lance! newspapers showed.

Although the attendance at first division games in new arenas is twice that in older stadiums, only three of the new venues, in Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte and Manaus, were consistently more than half full.

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