What will Brazil do with its controversial World Cup stadiums?

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With the close of the five-week long World Cup tournament, questions arise about if and how some of the pricey stadiums built for the event will be used.

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Copyright 2014 Reuters
Copyright 2014 Reuters

Brazil built 12 stadiums for the World Cup -- four more than the 8 required by FIFA. They are being marketed as potential venues for private business events, conventions, lower division soccer games, and farming fairs. Soccer matches are expected to bring in only a fraction of the capacities of each stadium.

"The only thing worse than spending a bunch of money on a stadium, is spending a bunch of money on a stadium that no one uses. No academic economist thinks that spending money on sports facilities is a particularly good investment." Victor Matheson, College of the Holy Cross sports economist

Iconic stadiums built for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing have been used only a handful of times since the events they were built for.

Brazil spent about $4 billion on the 12 stadiums of the $11.5 billion it spent, in total, on World Cup preparations. At least 8 construction workers died building the stadiums.

The stadiums were built against a backdrop of civil unrest about federal spending on World Cup preparations and protests. Many people -- Brazilian residents and foreign analysts -- have pointed out that Brazil struggles with transportation, education and other public services.

FIFA has said it may reduce the number of stadiums required to host the World Cup from eight for the 2018 World Cup in Russia over concerns that they aren't economically viable assets after the tournament concludes. A final decision will be made in September.

In Nov. 2013, a crane collapsed at the Arena Corinthians stadium in Sao Paulo, where the opening match was held, killing three workers and damaging part of the grandstand. It is one example of numerous failed pieces of infrastructure built specifically for the World Cup.

One suggestion is to "reappropriate" some of the stadiums into affordable housing. A "spontaneous architecture" firm called 1week1project has suggested "<a href="http://www.1week1project.org/en/2014/07/06/casa-futebol/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Casa Futebol</a>," which would construct small apartments inside the stadiums' extra space. The firm proposed the "ambitious" project <a href="http://www.fastcoexist.com/3033071/brazils-world-cup-stadiums-reimagined-as-sorely-needed-housing" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">to stimulate conversation</a> about the stadiums' future. 1week1project

One suggestion is to "reappropriate" some of the stadiums into affordable housing. A "spontaneous architecture" firm called 1week1project has suggested "Casa Futebol," which would construct small apartments inside the stadiums' extra space. The firm proposed the "ambitious" project to stimulate conversation about the stadiums' future.

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