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).
League Two side Bristol Rovers have been given the go ahead to build a new stadium. Local councillors voted on Tuesday to approve a proposal by supermarket chain Sainsbury's to redevelop the Memorial Stadium site. This allows Rovers to press ahead with building the UWE Stadium in the village of Frenchay (Bristol Rovers). The BBC reported Rovers Chair Nick Higgs said that "the approval of the sale of the Memorial Stadium is the biggest day in the Pirates' history." Higgs said, "It's like winning the Champions League." The construction of the new £40M ($64M) stadium "is expected to start in the summer to be ready in time for the start" of the '15 season (BBC, 1/17). The BRISTOL POST reported most people "accept the club needs the money from the sale of the current ground to the supermarket chain in order to help fund the cost of the new stadium." However, campaigners against the store said that "it was too big, would hit independent traders in nearby Gloucester Road and cause traffic problems." Both Liberal Democrat Bishopston ward councillors David Willingham and Bev Knott said that "they supported Bristol Rovers getting a new stadium but believed the cost on the local community was too great." Knott said: "It is so obviously good for Rovers to be able to move to their new stadium. But the application before us is for a supermarket that is far too big" (BRISTOL POST, 1/17).
GL Events has put the London Olympic Basketball Arena up for sale, "as well as the temporary seating used across several Olympic and Paralympic venues," according to Rachel Bull of EVENT MAGAZINE. Potential buyers can purchase the temporary structure as a whole package, including all 12,000 seats, or "choose solely to buy the interior seating and stands." In its search for buyers, GL Events is targeting "emerging sporting markets" such as Brazil, Russia, China and the Middle East, as well as the U.S. GL Events Owen Brown is in charge of the sale of the temporary structure, while GL Events Slick Seating is looking over the sale of seating (EVENT MAGAZINE, 1/16).