Published January 18, 2013
A general view of the Stadium Arena Fonte being built for the 2014 World Cup in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.
Upgrades to Brazil's "crumbling football stadiums ahead of the 2014 World Cup promise a safer, cleaner and altogether more pleasant environment for fans," but the luxurious new grounds come at a price -- "quite literally," according to Andrew Downie of REUTERS. Brazilian fans are "already complaining" about high ticket prices and a debate has begun over whether some supporters will be "priced out of venues that boast cinemas, shops, restaurants, and even automatically flushing toilets." The opening of the first of the new, "more plush stadiums" is adding to the excitement for football fans as the World Cup approaches, but steep increases in ticket prices for regular games are "leaving many with a sour taste." The cost of membership schemes that offer discounted tickets -- Brazil's equivalent to season tickets -- "are also going up." Brasileiro club Cruzeiro fans who paid R$60 ($30) a month last season are now being asked to pay R$100 ($49). The R$80 ($40) tickets now cost R$150 ($73) and the R$120 ($59) ones go for R$200 ($98). Cruzeiro fan Andre Meira said, "Prices have doubled and so people who earn the minimum wage won't be able to go to all the games. When you factor in transport and everything else it is going to be difficult for them." Cruzeiro Football Dir Jorge Motta is "nevertheless confident" supporters will pay and said that Brazil's recent economic gains have "deepened fans' pockets." More Brazilians have more money thanks to "steady economic growth and government assistance policies" that have helped lift more than 30 million people out of poverty and into the consuming middle classes. Others pointed out that while fans will pay more they will get an upgrade from the "dilapidated stadiums" that are currently used. Cruzeiro Commercial Dir Robson Pires said, "The old stadiums don't offer comfort or services or visibility and the new ones do. Even though ticket prices will go up the value for money is still there" (REUTERS, 1/17