SBD/June 30, 2014/Facilities

Long-Term Future Of Stadiums Built For FIFA World Cup In Brazil Appears Dire

Arena das Dunas is located in Natal, a Brazilian city without a top-level soccer team
History has "hinted that the fate" of the '14 FIFA World Cup Stadiums in Brazil "will be dire," according to Juliet Macur of the N.Y. TIMES. Cape Town Stadium, which was built for the '10 FIFA World Cup in South Africa has "turned into a cavernous ghost town." Suites that once held World Cup parties are "dusty and silent." The state-of-the-art locker rooms, with "tiny safes at each stall and rows of sinks to wash dirt off cleats," remain untouched. The 55,000 seats "remain empty most of the time, except when a handful are filled for games of a local soccer team, or when fans pack it for an occasional concert." After the '14 event concludes, Brazil's Arena das Dunas "will not regularly host tens of thousands of fans." Natal, a city of "fewer than a million people in northeastern Brazil does not have a top-level soccer team, and its lower-level teams attract several thousand fans only on their biggest game days." Without a "guaranteed tenant, the stadium has a murky future." The stadiums in Manaus, "surrounded by rain forest; Cuiaba, the soybean capital of Brazil, near Bolivia; and Brasilia, the capital, are also expected to become World Cup white elephants because none of them have soccer teams that can consistently fill them." The four stadiums cost about $2B, "most of it public money." Macur: "FIFA should discourage host countries from constructing permanent stadiums and encourage them to build temporary ones or rely on existing buildings" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/29). FIVE THIRTY EIGHT's Victor Matheson noted Brazil at the very least is "left with 12 new state-of-the-art soccer stadiums." From a "development standpoint, the only thing worse than an expensive, publicly financed stadium is an empty, expensive, publicly financed stadium" (FIVETHIRTYEIGHT.com, 6/28).
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