Legal Magazine

Rio Privatizes Hallowed Maracanã Stadium

Posted on the 26 July 2013 by Angelicolaw @AngelicoLaw

On June 30th, Rio de Janeiro transferred ownership of Maracanã Stadium to a private company that will administer the stadium for the next 35 years. Public concerns over the privatization of the Brazilian landmark helped fuel the ongoing public protests in Rio and more than 80 other cities in Brazil during June.

The winning company, Consortium Maracanã SA, narrowly won the bid after two months of negotiations and attempts to block the privatization by the Public Ministry of the State of Rio de Janeiro (Ministério Publico do Estado do Rio de Janeiro) and the court in Rio (Tribunal de Justiça do Rio).

Three corporations make up Consortium Maracanã SA. The Brazilian construction company Odebrecht holds 90% ownership. Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista’s entertainment company, IMX, holds 5% ownership. The remaining 5% ownership is held by the American entertainment group AEG.

Officially known as Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho, Maracanã Stadium was originally constructed to host the World Cup in 1950. At that time, Maracanã was the world’s largest stadium, seating 200,000 spectators. After renovations that reportedly addressed safety concerns, the stadium now seats just 80,000.

Still, the stadium is widely considered to be a cultural icon in Brazil, where soccer is the country’s most important sport. The stadium also serves as a popular venue for international music artists.

The Financial Impact of Privatizing Maracanã Stadium

The privatization of Maracanã represents a financial loss for Rio. That’s because Rio recently spent more than R$1.1 billion to renovate the stadium. After adding the R$305 million of public funds spent on additional renovations of Maracanã for the 2007 Pan-American games, the total amount spent by Rio on Maracanã Stadium is estimated at R$1.4 billion.

However, under the privatization deal, Consortium Maracanã SA will only pay Rio R$181.5 million in 33 yearly installments of R$5.5 million.

Even though recent renovations have made the stadium more attractive and easier to access, soccer fans hope that Maracanã Stadium’s new owners will keep ticket prices affordable.

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