Brazil’s World Cup: Making Riches In A Poor Country

EKS / (Shutterstock.com)
EKS / (Shutterstock.com)

The World Cup is in full swing, and people are having a great time. I love it. For soccer fans (I hate the term “soccer” but will use it for the sake of this website), the World Cup is almost a holy time. The Cup’s top all-time scorer, Ronaldo—a Brazilian, not the present-day Portuguese one—hit two goals in the World Cup final in 2002. He was asked if scoring those two goals was better than sex. His reply:

“The World Cup is better than sex. It’s only once every four years; sex is not.”

The problem is, as much as the masses love the World Cup, the World Cup doesn’t seem to be doing much for the masses in Brazil.

People have been getting sprayed with tear gas as they protest on the streets of Brazil. Close to a million people hit the streets to demonstrate against this World Cup after not only seeing their government splash out huge amounts of money on stadiums, but hearing them declare that prices of public transportation will go up.

The mainstream media isn’t covering these stories much. It would also hurt any potential earnings to be made off tourists. FIFA is going to make the most money out of it. They are set to pocket over three billion dollars from the competition. This money is to be made from ticket sales, official World Cup products, sponsors (Coca Cola, Visa, etc.), and other services they provide.

The tournament hosts have spent 15 billion dollars. The worst part is that the Brazilians have no certainty if they will get any return on it—or even enough to break even. They could find themselves in huge amounts of debt.

FIFA boasts that they have never sold so many tickets, while many in Brazil live below the poverty line.

In Brazil, soccer is almost like a religion. The majority of the country is in love with the sport, so it says a lot that so many Brazilians are against this World Cup. They feel their country should be spending their money on more important things than stadiums and hotels.

Fifteen stadiums were built from scratch or modernized, even though only 12 will be hosting matches. Stadiums have been built in cities that don’t even have proper clubs. A stadium has been renovated in Brasilia that can seat over 65,000 people, even though the best team in this city plays in the lower leagues and has an average attendance of 800 people. This means that after the World Cup, not only would money have to be spent on preserving the stadium, but hardly any revenue would be made from ticket sales to support it.

This is not the only stadium to have these kinds of problems. It’s being estimated that stadiums in Manaus, Natal, and Cuiaba will all be financially better off getting knocked down after the tournament is over.

Brazil might very well be considered a soccer nation, but the figures show that attendances in Brazilian league games are not that high. It’s not uncommon for a Rio derby match in the Copa Libertadores (the equivalent of Europe’s Champions League or America’s Super Bowl) to have an attendance of around 10,000. That’s pitiful in comparison to the figures other big sporting competitions bring in.

On top of this, a lot the fans at Brazilian league games are ultras, many of them violent. Some Brazilian clubs pay these ultras to attend games in order to guarantee an audience. Many ordinary families do not attend these games in fear of being beaten up, robbed, or both.

The Brazilian league is vastly overrated. Brazil might well be the best team in the world, but it’s common knowledge that most players in the Brazilian national team play their club football in Europe. Bottom line: Brazilian league games won’t bring in bigger attendances just because stadiums have a greater capacity.

Big international tournaments require their host nations to shell out big bucks on infrastructure. It’s no secret that other countries have previously had financial difficulties after such tournaments. FIFA always has the most to gain out of a World Cup. They don’t have to put in the money to build and uphold the stadiums. They’re in and they’re out (with bags of cash), leaving a poor nation such as Brazil to pick up the pieces.

It’s frightening how the world works. To see a nation with such financial problems and vast amounts of crime making the rich even richer while doing nothing for those living in poverty is inexcusable. TC mark

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