Ana Maria Viteri
15 September 2014
The True Losers
Every four years, soccer fans from all over the world hover over their TVs to watch their favorite teams battle against each other for the honorable title of World Cup Champions. This summer, the 20th FIFA World Cup tournament was held in the tropical country of Brazil, making it the fifth country to ever host the tournament twice. However, a lot of new requisites are expected for the World Cup host, and for Brazil, these included the renovation and construction of twelve new stadiums, new subway lines in São Paulo, and the expansion of twelve airports- to name the least (Zimbalist). In order to meet these requisites, Brazil had to invest 13.3 billion dollars to prepare for this special event. However, doing so has resulted in many economic issues, which has evoked Brazilians to doubt the true benefit of hosting this mega-sporting event.
Although hosting a massive tournament such as the World Cup may seem like a great opportunity for a country to boost its economy, this is not always the case. Unless the country is able to recoup its investment, the tournament will leave the hosting country with major debt rather than a profit. Not only does that given country need to be able to afford these expenses, but it also needs to have enough resources to comply with the requisites. In the case of Brazil, the massive construction projects for stadiums and subway lines required labor and land. However, Brazil faced issues in this area due to the shortage of qualified construction workers. In fact, at that moment, there was so much construction taking place that most of all the qualified workers were employed. This resulted in a delay of many projects, and due to the severe time pressure to get these stadiums and subway lines done, Brazil was forced to go forward with the construction by using unqualified workers- resulting in a low-quality job.Land was also compromised for the tournament. In fact, the opportunity cost of building so many stadiums is that such given space can no longer be utilized for other more productive uses.
Even though the cost of hosting this tournament is very high, there are reason as to why Brazil decided to undertake this challenge. One of these is the opportunity to attract new tourists. New tourists are likely to spend money on not only World Cup related activities and entertainment, but also on accommodations, meals, and brazilian merchandise. Along with these benefits exist the possibility that Brazil will reaffirm to its tourist that it is a vibrant, rich, and fun country to visit (Zimbalist). Creating that image for their tourists ensures that Brazil will position itself “as an attractive destination to potential investors and tourists now and in the future” (McGuire). However, it seems that for Brazil, the benefits did not outweigh the consequences. With only 3.03 billion dollars in revenue, not the same as profit, the country’s investment does not seem to be worth it. Although the World Cup tournament is a time many people look forward to, it did not end up being as rewarding to Brazil’s economy. In fact a research poll conducted by Pew Research center discovered that 61% of Brazilians respondents had negative feelings in regards to their country hosting the tournament. They expressed their doubts on this topic and many believed that their country was not economically competent to host this event. But, this issue does not mean that the excitement during the World Cup was any lower than that of previous years. The passion and love for the game spectators bring to this event remained the same.
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Zimbalist, Andrew. “Brazil’s Long To-Do List.” Americas. Americas Quarterly., n.p. 13 Sep