Sao Paulo on brink

Sport Business News

In a massive possible development that would see a huge shift in focus for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Sao Paulo, Brazil's biggest city and business and cultural hub, looks set to lose its logical position as host of the opening ceremony and match following a major blowout in costs for its chosen stadium, Itaqueráo.

The stadium, to be developed by mega club Corinthians and construction giant Odebrecht, was to cost R700m including a range of modifications for the opening, however the latest estimate puts the final cost at closer to $1bn, which has prompted the club's president to question this week whether it is even possible. One option is reverting to the club's original plan for a 45, 000 seat facility at a cost of less than $500m; such a stadium could host regular FIFA World Cup matches but not the opening or even semi–finals. Whether another political play or not, the comments are very worrying coming just under three years from the event, particularly given the development is yet to even break ground. In the event that Sao Paulo is finally ruled out of opening duties, three other cities are competing for the right to host the first match: Belo Horizonte, Brasilia and Salvador. Regardless of the final decision, a race for the opener minus Sao Paulo would seriously raise the profile of these three cities and drive significant additional investments, with the winner to gain a massive boost. Furthermore, if a 65, 000 seater in Sao Paulo is not possible, additional semi and quarter final match spots will open up for other host cities with suitable stadia. About Simon TarmoA journalist from Sydney, Australia, and co–founder of industry journal Australian Sponsorship News, Simon Tarmo now lives in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Having worked on a range of writing, research and trade projects across a number of industries including sport, entertainment and wine, he is currently focusing on business opportunities involving the 2014 World Cup and Rio 2016 in Brazil. With fluent Portuguese language skills, he has an extensive network of contacts throughout Brazil and can advise and assist foreign groups doing business in the country. More details http://simontarmo. blogspot. com/ ~ Simon Tarmo+55 31 9196 0069simon@pando. com. auhttp://simontarmo. blogspot. com/

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