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SBD Global/April 15, 2013/Facilities

World Cup LOC CEO Trade Says Private Operators Could Help Avoid 'White Elephants'

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2014 World Cup LOC CEO Ricardo Trade said avoiding "white elephants" is a challenge for organizers.
As construction companies work around the clock to finish the stadiums in time for next year's FIFA World Cup in Brazil, questions about the future usage of  the 12 stadiums after the end of the tournament arise. 2014 World Cup Local Organizing Committee CEO Ricardo Trade told SBD Global: "It's one of our challenges here, but Brazil is different from South Africa in terms of football." South Africa, which hosted the last World Cup in '10, has faced major challenges in securing regular events to offset the high maintenance costs for many of its World Cup stadiums such as those in Durban, Cape Town and Nelspruit. Trade pointed to the differences between the two countries in terms of the public passion for football. He said, "We have a lot of fans here that love football. The passion for football here is very clear. We could fill most stadiums with the fans of the local clubs. For example, in Porto Alegre we have two huge teams with a huge quantity of fans that will make it easy to fill the stadium there. However, we could have problems with the stadiums in Brasilia, Cuiaba, Manaus and maybe Natal."

USING PRIVATE MANAGERS: To make sure those and other World Cup stadiums will not become "white elephants," organizers and stadium owners count on private stadium operators such as AEG to use the stadiums for events other than football. Trade said, "For the first time in Brazil, we are having private operators in the stadiums. They are using the stadiums not only for football, but also for entertainment. [Two weeks ago], for example, Belo Horizonte sold out the Paul McCartney show at Mineirão stadium within 24 hours. On [Wednesday] they started selling Paul McCartney tickets for his show in Fortaleza, where they sold 40,000 tickets in less than 12 hours. In Recife, for example, we have [stadium owner] Odebrecht plus AEG. We [now have] professional people working at the stadiums. Stadiums that might struggle to fill their stands with fans could use this proposal. I think it's good for us to have private operators to avoid having white elephants in our country."
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