Just how much is Brazil willing to spend on both the World Cup and the Olympics? Picture: AP
After years of preparation, Brazil's World cup has finally kicked off, though not all is going as planned.
Ahead of yesterday's opening ceremony, protesters clashed with police in Brazil’s two largest cities, Rio De Janerio and Sao Paulo. Demonstrators were rallying against corruption and inequality in the country after the government spent an estimated $US11 billion to renovate existing stadiums, build new sporting grounds and reinforce core infrastructure ahead of the event.
Protests at major world sporting events aren’t anything new. In fact, the last World Cup in South Africa was also the target of local protests, with similar motivations to the Brazil demonstrations. The total cost of that event was pinned at $US4bn.
The demonstrations have a point. The spending on these events is extravagant, particularly for developing countries. But how does it stack up compared to other major events over the past decade?
As you can see, the estimated spending on this World Cup event is nothing compared to the funds reportedly poured into the Sochi Olympics or the Beijing Olympics. But at current estimates -- which will more than likely be revised upwards at a later date -- it is the most expensive World Cup to date.
Another general trend from this data is that developing countries tend to spend more than developed countries in preparing their cities for major events. This is also true of the World Cup, as Germany spent less than both South Africa and Brazil on its tournament.
The exception to this rule was the London Olympics, which despite having strong existing infrastructure, still managed to spend over $US14bn. Though, according to the London Olympics legacy report, the lion’s share of funding -- 70p of every pound, according to Prime Minister David Cameron -- was poured into redeveloping East London, rather than on managing and preparing for the event.
According to the government, Brazil has seen a similar split with its funding. Of the reported $11bn total, the Brazil government says around $3.5bn has been committed towards new stadiums and repairs of existing grounds. The rest has been committed to infrastructure. Brazil President Dilma Rousseff recently said that the country spent 212 times more funds on health and education in the three year lead-up the World Cup than it has on sporting stadiums.
Though, as is the case with most of these events, the costs of the Brazil World Cup have blown out from original estimates. A country inspection report to FIFA campaigning for Brazil to hold the event estimated that it would only cost $US1.1bn to remodel and build an adequate number of stadiums.
For what it’s worth, Brazil should see results from this event. Tourism from the World Cup is expected to generate around $3.03bn towards the country’s economy. The event is also expected to break social media and broadcast records. In theory, this World Cup is a launch pad that will propel Brazil’s efforts with the 2016 Rio De Janiero Olympic games.
The real question is how much more the country will need to spend to prepare itself for this second event. And as past Olympics games have shown, it isn’t cheap.
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