Carnival-time is every day!

Sport Business News

Mickey Charles, president and CEO of real–time sports wire service The Sports Network (TSN), based in Philadelphia, US, presents his inimitable view on what Rio and Brazil have to offer around the 2014 FIFA World Cp and 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

"For the uninitiated among you, the Carnival of Brazil is properly spelled Carnaval and pronounced accordingly. Good to know when next you attend, or plan to for the first time. It is, as you may already know, the annual festival that held 40 days before Easter and is the most famous holiday in Brazil, a time of camaraderie, freedom for a week from work and more people than you thought possible running around emulating a Roman orgy at the highest level. It is a reason to visit but not a reason to move permanently from your current haunts. One thing is for certain, however...attend and you can look your most outrageous or bring as few items to wear as possible and be one of the many in a thong and two pasties. It is the ultimate party!!And another is coming that will be its equal in crowds, gaiety, zaniness and good, while competitive – times that that are likely to change the face of Rio de Janeiro for decades to come. The 2016 Olympics. It is going to take an effort unlike Brazil has ever encountered before to convert Rio's sagging infrastructure into a world class destination put on display for everyone on the planet to see. They may not get down to their wearing Spandex and string bikinis everywhere, or anywhere save the pool, but radio, TV, print journalists, wire services like ourselves will be dissecting Brazil in more detail than Body Worlds does a cadaver to prepare presentation for the rest of us to see just how our bodies work. The country is on a seeming hot streak, convincing the International Olympic Committee, whose worldly members were openly oblivious to any applications by the US for the event to be held in Chicago, despite the personal appearance of the US president. Madrid and Tokyo were dismissed summarily as well. This is the first time the games will be held in South America and the opportunity for a political, economic and diplomatic coup has everyone from president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (say that 10 times fast) salivating albeit somewhat nervously. Let us understand this clearly so we can determine if Rio is headed for bankruptcy or incredible success and revitalisation. A city of some 6m people has budgeted $14. 4bn to prepare for the Games while Bernie Madoff is in prison and cannot help. No one came close to indicating an expenditure of that size during the bidding process. And, they will surely spend every penny of that amount to create an infrastructure that does not exist currently. Theirs is a world of sea, sun, sex, samba and soccer. If it starts with an 's' they have it. If one speaks of the events industry, is there any larger than this one? As a reason to do business in Brazil, in Rio? If you are providing goods tied to the Olympics, yes. As a reason at another time? Only if you wait until the din has died down and the crowds have gone home, when the clean–up has taken the place, when the aftermath that remains is utilised to take Rio to a level in the business world of the planet that it now enjoys as a holiday destination. But, doing business there now, if it is not something already in place from which one is enjoying the spoils of the effort and is simply expanding or you are an Olympics Vendor in preparation? Probably not. It is definitely 'wait and see'. No hurricanes or destructive earthquakes of late but few new roads or tunnels over the past 20 years. Many three to five star hotels whose rooms are probably booked already for the Olympics, or soon will be, and hundreds of thousands of tourists are accommodated for Carnaval but many more facilities will have to be built. The famous Maracana soccer stadium, the largest in South America, built in the 1950s for the FIFA World Cup is being refurbished for the 2014 FIFA World Cup that they are hosting here. They still have some other facilities built for the Pan American Games they hosted a few years ago but this is the tip of the iceberg. Cities of venues for events must be constructed...coupled with public transportation, subway, water, sewer, electricity. . and more. This is an event destination between now and 2016, it has potential for some business and investment, carefully analysed, but it is not on your Top 10 list of places that you want to call home. On the other hand, as Tevya said in 'Fiddler on the Roof', you do want to find reasons to do business there now with over $14bn waiting to be spent. It is potpourri of money and someone(s) will be the happy recipients of their share. Can you compete with the likes of Nike or Ralph Lauren for attire? Can you defeat Godzilla with a plastic knife? Did you bother to watch the recent Olympics? The 'swoosh' was everywhere? Brazil will turn to its own population for construction, food vendors, printers of programmes and whatever else has to be placed on paper. Cleaning services will clean up. Exhibition organisations will be bidding and looking for contacts and friends tomorrow morning–like it or not, that is how business is done. Auditions will be held for locals who will be part and parcel of all the ceremonies and who will need months to rehearse to perfection. It is unending. How much of it will be curried from outside Brazil? As little as possible if what past experience dictates. Hosting the Olympic Games is a revival meeting of sorts for many, an improvement and add–on for others, as it was with Vancouver. In Sao Paulo, Real Estate Investment World returns for a second year as the forum for Brazil's most respected developers, fund managers, institutional investors and service providers to gather and discuss opportunities in real estate but, this time, the focus will be the Olympics and vying for one's share of those billions. The anticipated in–fighting will put the MMA to shame. The intrigues will lay the groundwork for the next James Bond adventure and movie. If you do decide to move to South America, or to Brazil, for any reason(s) whatsoever, here is your checklist:• Be informed before you go• Find a cultural mentor• Choose your home and neighbourhood carefully• Go slooooooooooooooow at first• Do not make general presumptions about Latin Americans although many will be true• Expect a test period• Life will be somewhat annoying there at the outset• Try not to complain except to family and close business colleagues• Do your best to look for, and find, good things I doubt you want to live there unless you can thrive there. Hmmmm, home is looking better and better!Competition in Brazil, in South America is hand to hand combat at the highest level, accomplished with computers, pens, pads and e–mails, then topped off with meetings where attorneys are the real winners. Whatever success Brazil has enjoyed during a worldwide economic malaise, the country does not have a 'come share' sign hanging around its neck. Brazil wanted the Olympics, it got the Olympics and the country wants you but I am not sure they want you on a permanent basis. Put Rio de Janeiro on your global destinations list and a question mark next to the Olympics if you are a sports fan but, in reality, that is why Samsung, Sony, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Westinghouse, Vizio and others make LCDs of all sizes. Canrnaval yes. Olympics maybe. Move...undecided and no rush. Business...if there is opportunity. "About Mickey CharlesMickey Charles is president and CEO of real–time sports wire service The Sports Network (TSN), based in Philadelphia, US. For further information about The Sports Network, visit: www. sportsnetwork. com. The Sports Network2200 Byberry RdHatboro, PA 19040 Tel: +1 (215) 441–8444 Fax: +1 (215) 441–5767

Additional information