2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics Research
The years 2014 and 2016 may seem distant, but for Brazilians they are very much in the present.
In May of 2009, FIFA confirmed twelve Brazilian cities as hosts of the 2014 World Cup. Incredibly, there are no stadiums in Brazil that meet FIFA’s architectural specifications. In order to host the 2014 World Cup, Brasilia, Cuiaba, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio De Janeiro, Salvador, and Sao Paulo are building or renovating stadiums, constructing new hotels, upgrading transportation systems, and preparing for the quadrennial soccer tournament. Construction on all twelve projects will begin in 2010.
According to the Brazilian Soccer Confederation (CBF), the cumulative cost of the 2014 World Cup stadium projects will be R$ 4.648 billion ($2.32 billion Dollars). The average stadium project will cost around R$ 387.3 million ($190 million Dollars). Billions more will be spent on upgrading transportation infrastructure and communications facilities, building new hotels, and security. Host cities and states will bear the brunt of the financial burden as the current economic climate has reduced partnerships with the private sector.
On October 2, 2010 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will select either Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, Chicago, or Madrid as the host city for the 2016 Summer Olympics. GamesBids.com, the leading indicator of Olympic Games selection, places Rio de Janeiro in a dead heat with Tokyo. The Olympics have never been in South America and the Brazilian federal government has guaranteed financing for the R$80 billion project (US$40 billion). The Rio Organizing Committee (RJOGOC) has already spent in excess of US$ 100 million in preparing and promoting the Olympic bid. Rio de Janeiro has hooked its Olympic Bid to their experience with hosting the 2007 Pan American Games. The cumulative cost for the Pan 2007 was in excess of US$ 5 billion, more than ten times over budget. Hosting Pan 2007 was a process fraught with corruption scandals, incomplete projects, and militarization of parts of the city.
While politicians and construction firms see mega-events as opportunities to accelerate development projects and promote cities and country on a global stage, others point to the inevitable corruption, graft, and uneven distribution of financial burdens and rewards as evidence of continuing social injustices. The state and city of Rio de Janeiro continue to invest heavily in the constellation of facilities necessary to host global mega-events, using these events as mechanisms to accelerate social and economic development. Whether or not this works as a strategy for solving Rio’s grave social and urban problems is debatable. The evidence from the 2007 Pan American Games suggests that the promised new and/or improved transportation lines will not be completed, environmental remediation projects will stall, and that construction of vip accommodation in stadiums and five star hotels will take budgetary priority.
As a recipient of a Fulbright Scholar Grant from the U.S. Department of State, in the Fall of 2009 I will be researching the social and urban effects of mega-events in Rio de Janeiro and Brazil. My recent book, Temples of the Earthbound Gods (University of Texas Press, 2008), traces the history and culture of stadiums in Rio de Janeiro from the late 19th century to the early 21st. My current research is a continuation of the themes I cover in Temples: exploring the larger political, cultural, and geographic worlds of Brazilian cities through an analysis of their building projects relatative to the 2007 Pan American Games, 2014 World Cup, and 2016 Olympics. In addition to my research, I will teach a course on mega-events in the Department of Geography at the State University of Rio de Janeiro.
If your media outlet is in need of background information, interviews, or news stories from Rio de Janeiro, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Dr. Christopher Gaffney holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Texas at Austin and is on leave from UNC – Chapel Hill where he teaches Urban Geography and International Studies. His book, Temples of the Earthbound Gods: stadiums in the cultural landscapes of Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, is available on Amazon or from the University of Texas Press. Gaffney hosted a weekly talk show called Soccer Mad on 91.7 KOOP (Austin, TX), has been a radio and television commentator for the USL-1 Carolina RailHawks (Cary, NC), and covers the RailHawks for the Independent Weekly in Durham, NC. He covered the 2006 World Cup at www.soccerprofs.blogspot.com and maintains a blog at www geostadia.blogspot.com. He is also a principal of Six Dimensions Sports Consulting (www.6dsports.com). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 512-585-9866 (USA) or 011-55-21-xxxx-xxxx (Brazil).
16 July 2009
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