Was Brazil right to spend record sums on hosting the World Cup?

Were critics of Brazil’s massive investment in the 2014 FIFA World Cup justified?

Dr Joseph S. Tulchin:

I think one needs to step back, and we’re going to read some articles by critics of the government over the next 30 days evaluating the economic impact of the investment.

I think we need to understand two very important things that have happened. The first of all, the infrastructure works themselves. There have been some new airports, well not new airports but airports that have been massively renovated, let’s see if the traffic through those renovated airports warrants the expenditure.

Of the least valuable additions to the nation’s infrastructure are three massive football stadiums that hold 50,000 to 100,000 people in places like Manaus. Manaus is a tough place to play football. Most Europeans, and certainly the English, would not enjoy playing there. Humidity is closing in on 100 per cent, the temperature is not far behind. It’s a tough place to play. So we’ll see what happens to this magnificent new stadium. But the rest of the infrastructure will add to the country’s investment.

In addition, many cynics said that Brazil would suffer a blow to its international reputation because it couldn’t control crime.

Well, as near as I’ve been able to figure out - and two of my children actually went to the World Cup - no significant violence, no crime other than what you might find in London, Paris and Berlin with petty thievery and so on.

Brazil enjoyed a significant victory in its capacity to organise public security. Massive international tourism, huge numbers of people flooding into the country. We don’t know yet how much they spent, so we don’t know the bottom line in Brazil’s economy.

But the victory in public security is one the Brazilian government can point to with great pride.

(Photo credit: dpa)

  • Brazil's World Cup costs are estimated to be more than US$11billion making it the most expensive since the competition began in 1930.
  • FIFA keeps the revenue from the 2014 TV rights, tickets, corporate sponsorships and marketing - expected to be around US$4bn.
  • Brazil keeps the millions from tourist spending.
  • South Africa spent around US$4bn for the 2010 World Cup. Germany spent less than a billion for the 2006 World Cup.
  • FIFA requires that each host country has eight modern stadiums with at least 40,000 capacity.
  • Brazil committed to having 12 venues - one for each of its cities. Nine of the stadiums were new.Four were built in cities with no football team in the first division of Brazil’s soccer leagues.
  • Manaus has a second division team with an average attendance of around 1,500 per game. Its new stadium cost more than US$300 million. It was used for four games during the World Cup.
  • Non-sport infrastructure investments for the 2014 World Cup were mainly on public transport, roads, hotels, and new airport runways or terminals.