Brazil’s $3 Billion World Cup Stadiums Are Turning Into White Elephants 6 Months Later

January 23, 2015

Tony Manfred – Business Insider, 1/23/2015

Brazil spent $3.6 billion building and renovating 12 venues for the 2014 World Cup. Despite needing only eight venues to meet FIFA regulations, the country decided to build additional stadiums from scratch in far-flung cities that didn’t need 40,000-seat soccer arenas.

Predictably, those stadiums have not justified the cost in the six months since the tournament ended.The $230 million Arena Pantanal, in Cuiaba, has been closed for emergency repairs less than a year after it opened. Officials say the region’s seasonal rains led to roof leaks and the air-conditioning broke.

According to the Associated Press, the city has only two local teams that draw between 500 and 1,000 fans a game. The stadium holds 42,000 people.

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FIFA is giving Brazil $100 million after the country spent $15 billion on the World Cup

January 21, 2015

Stephen Wade – AP/Business Insider, 01/20/2015

Football’s world governing body FIFA said Tuesday it had set up a $100 million World Cup Legacy Fund for Brazil, aimed at sports facilities, youth and women’s football, and medical and health projects.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter pledged two years ago to give some of the revenue from the 2014 World Cup back to grassroots programs in the South American country, which spent about $15 billion organizing last year’s World Cup.

Spending on the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics is expected to top $15 billion.

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Brazil ETFs Set to Continue Struggle in 2015

January 20, 2015

Jared Cummans – ETF Database, 1/19/2015

Brazil has long been one of the most alluring emerging market economies, earning itself the “B” in the popular BRIC nation group. Its economy was once bustling and offering handsome growth for investors, but that has screeched to a halt in recent years. What’s worse is that it does not appear the emerging market will get back on track anytime soon.

From 2010 to 2014, EWZ had an average annual return of -9.81%; from 2005 to 2009 that figure was 47.74%, a stark contrast. The poor returns come as GDP continues to disappoint, among other things. 2014 saw a trade deficit of $3.93 billion, the largest since 1998. Exports in 2014 dropped 7% while inflation continues to rise. The hefty costs of hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup certainly did not do the country any favors. To put it simply, the Brazilian economy is facing a number of headwinds, none of which are quick fixes.

Looking forward to 2015, the outlook is not much better. GDP growth fell from 2.3% in 2013 to 0.15% in 2014, as the economy suffered a sharp slowdown at the end of 2014. Analysts are forecasting GDP growth of 0.5% for this year; while that may be higher than 2014, it is certainly not a number that is going to get the economy back on the right track, as it still lies on the brink of a recession. On top of that, inflation continues to rise, forcing the central bank to raise rates to attempt to keep prices at bay.

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Brazil trying to make good use of new stadiums

December 22, 2014

Tales Azzoni – AP/SunHerald.com, 12/21/2014

It’s white elephant time for World Cup stadiums — again.

When the World Cup ended, Brazil was left with a sense of pride after successfully hosting soccer’s showcase tournament. It was also left with 12 modern facilities that officials said would help revitalize the sport in the country.

Now, Brazil’s brand new arenas are having to host weddings, children’s parties and religious events to generate revenue.

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British World Cup Ticket Official May Be Jailed in Brazil

November 26, 2014

Tariq Panja – Bloomberg, 11/25/2014

A senior executive of soccer governing body FIFA’s ticketing and hospitality partner could be jailed if he returns to Brazil to await trial for charges including money laundering, racketeering and illegally selling World Cup tickets.

Ray Whelan, a director at Match Services AG, who denies the charges, was arrested twice in raids around the July 14 World Cup final before being held in Rio de Janeiro’s Bangu Prison. A panel of judges on Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court, the country’s highest appeal body, yesterday overturned a ruling allowing Whelan and others to be released from prison in August.

Whelan, 64, who had been ordered to stay in Rio as a condition of his release, left for the U.K. on Nov. 12 after a separate court allowed him to temporarily travel on condition he return within three months. A trial date has yet to be set.

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Brazil Tourism Board Video Launches Campaign to Extend World Cup Success

November 12, 2014

Brian Major – Travel Pulse, 11/12/2014

Brazil’s Tourism Board is seeking to fan the embers of its successful hosting of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, at least in terms of the country’s surge in international and North American visitor arrivals during the event.

Embratur this week released a 30-second video featuring scenes of 2014 FIFA World Cup travelers celebrating, cheering and at events and experiencing cultural activities in the five Brazilian cities that hosted World Cup events.

The video’s release marks the launch of Embratur’s post World Cup promotional campaign. Recorded throughout the competition, it combines scenes of cheering fans at Brazil’s grand stadiums with others that expose Brazil’s cultural and natural attractions, including an emphasis on the country’s distinctive gastronomy.

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Fifa’s third-party ownership ban: is it good or bad news for Brazil?

October 21, 2014

Fernando Duarte – The Guardian, 10/21/2014

The revelation that Barcelona paid over £20m more than they originally declared to tempt Neymar from the Brazilian seaside town of Santos to the more noble shores of Catalonia in May 2013 was noisy enough to bring down the then president Sandro Rosell and trigger an investigation into the finances of the striker’s father and main adviser, Neymar Sr.

It also shone a light on the complexity of the deal and the number of parties involved. In 2009, when Neymar Jr was aged 17 and was not even a regular in the first team, Santos already feared losing the boy’s services. To entice him to stay, the club put together a vastly improved contract negotiated by selling “chunks” of the player, accounting for 40% of his economic rights, to DIS, a fund belonging to a Brazilian supermarket mogul. By the time he was sold to Barcelona, Teisa, a group formed by some of the club’s directors, also owned a further 5% of the golden goose.

Neymar’s tale is emblematic of why Fifa’s decision to ban third-party ownership “within three or four years” will have a strong impact in Brazilian football. Without investors, Santos would have never been able to hold on to their biggest poster-boy when big clubs, Chelsea included, came knocking – even though the process also included the club pretty much relinquishing any participation in the player’s image rights.

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