History making sporting events like the World Cup or the Olympics do an amazing job at putting the spotlight on its host country for all the world to see. However, shining the spolitght on that country has a tendency to shed some light on that country’s problems. In the case of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the country’s current economic state has made many wonder if its right for a country with serious economic and social issues to host such a extravagant event?
Many would argue that hosting an event of such magnitude would be a great opportunity for a country by providing a sense of sportsmanship, unity and excitement. Not to mention all the economic benefits that would come from advertisements and from the money to be made from people who travel from different parts of the world to be part of the excitement. While those are valid points, developing countries should consider the needs of its citizens, the costs of putting on a great show and life beyond the games.
For many people of Brazil, the World Cup hardly seems necessary when dealing with a 15.9 percent poverty rate, a lacking healthcare system and issues with education. The Pewter Research Center reported 61 percent of Brazilians believe serving, as host to the games is a bad idea because it takes away money from schools, health care and other public services. Many are so angry that they have taken to the streets to protest the high costs that come with hosting such a high profile event.
Those countries like Brazil also have to take into account just how much it would cost to ensure that both athletes and tourists have the best experience possible. Brazil and previous World Cup host South Africa have spent billions on improving transportation, airports, and other infrastructure for incoming visitors. Brazil has reportedly spent about $11 billion on the World Cup, $2.7 billion of which went to 12 new stadiums in host cities. That is approximately 13 percent of what the country spent on public education.
Brazil, like most countries who choose to host events like the World Cup or Olympics, believe that these events would bring about great economic opportunities that would allow them to make back their money, if not more. Unfortunately that is not always the case. When South Africa, a country with a 50 percent poverty rate and a 24 percent unemployment rate in 2009, hosted the Cup in 2010, it hoped to generate money mainly through tourist spending. According to an article in International Business Times, turnout was not exactly what was expected as a little over 300,000 of the projected 450,000 visitors came to watch the games, totaling $513 million in revenue.
Another problem with spending so much on building huge stadiums and premium arenas is what to do with them once the games are over. In Brazil, the city of Manaus received a $270 million stadium that will only be used for four games. South Africa invested $2.5 billion dollars on building and upgrading 10 stadiums for the 2010 World Cup. After the games, the country had to spend $18 to $24 million for continued stadium maintenance.