Monday, November 29, 2010

South African Businesses Missing Out on Possibilities of World Cup Stadia

As venues sit empty and unused, South Africa's World Cup organizer is calling out the business community for missing out on opportunities to use the country's World Cup stadia.

He cited Soccer City's failure to capitalise on the Spanish tourists who flock to the site where Andres Iniesta's solitary strike secured Spain's maiden World Cup triumph.

"What do we offer the many tourists who come to the venue where Spanish soccer recorded its finest hour?" asked Jordaan.

"They come to see the stadium where their team conquered the globe and we offer them nothing. All they can do is just sit on the stands, pose for a picture and that's it.

World Cup stadiums are cash cows
November 27, 2010

Despite Violence, Games Officials Promise Safety in Brazil

Games officials in Brazil are trying to clam nerves about safety issues during the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro amid violent attacks in one of the city's most notorious slums.

Brazilian authorities have claimed that recent attacks by drugs gangs are a desperate response at police efforts to take control of their turf in more than a dozen slum areas.

The local organising committee of the Rio Olympics also promised a trouble-free games.

"The Rio 2016 committee has full confidence in the security plans which have been elaborated jointly with the three levels of government (municipal, state and federal) and presented to the International Olympic Committee (IOC)," it said.

Soccer-Brazil says Rio violence will not affect World Cup
November 26, 2010

Vancouver Transit Use Boosted During Winter Olympics

The city of Vancouver saw large jumps in transit use during the 2010 Winter Olympics, according to a new report. However, the jumps are mainly due to increased service during the games.

The Host City Olympic Transportation Plan Downtown Monitoring Study looked at how people got around during the February 12-28 Winter Games, and compared the findings to previous transportation monitoring efforts conducted by the City of Vancouver and its partners. On an average Olympic Games weekday there were approximately 1.17 million trips into or out of the downtown Vancouver peninsula – close to 44 per cent higher than the pre-Games weekday average of 813,000 person-trips.

City of Vancouver sets transportation records during 2010 Winter Games: UBC study
Eureka Alert
November 23, 2010

Infrastructure Cited As Main Concern for Brazil

Infrastructure is causing major concerns in Brazil, where officials are hoping to continue the country's growth in power among world economies.

Sun-drenched fields produce grain twice as fast as the rest of the world, but getting that grain to port across unpaved roads can cost almost half its value. Mineral deposits lie untouched for lack of rail lines to move them to markets.

Investors drawn to the country's sophisticated financial markets struggle to travel between major cities because congestion leaves airports in chaos. (Graphic on Brazilian infrastructure:

These problems will not prevent Brazil from emerging as a major world economy, said Edemir Pinto, Chief Executive of the BM&FBovespa (BVMF3.SA) exchange operator.

Brazilian infrastructure lags behind the boom
November 24, 2010

Favela Cleanup Program Spurs Violence in Rio

Violence has erupted in Rio de Janeiro as the state expands on a program to try to clean up the city's crime-riddled favelas. The impact is intended to refresh the city's image ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.

Rio authorities say the violence is in reaction to a two-year-old policing project, known as the "pacification" program, to root out organized drug-fueled crime by occupying favelas (or shanty towns). The program involves setting up heavy policing units to reclaim slums from gangs, and authorities say it has "pacified" 13 favelas since its inception.

To supporters it has been a one-of-a-kind success. For skeptics it is smoke and mirrors. The answer generally depends on where you live.

Rash of Rio violence rattles even hardened residents in Brazil's World Cup host city
The Christian Science Monitor
November 24, 2010

Brazil Tries to Calm Concerns About Crime Ahead of World Cup

Amid recent violence, officials in Brazil are insisting that the 2014 World Cup will be a safe event.

Justice Minister Luiz Paulo Barreto made the comments as Rio de Janeiro tries to contain a surge in violence, with gang members blocking roads and setting cars on fire in the city expected to host the World Cup final four years from now.

Barreto downplayed the recent concerns, saying security will reach its maximum level during the World Cup.

"We will be at an advanced level, with the police properly prepared," he said in the opening of a three-day meeting with government officials, local authorities and FIFA executives in the nation's capital. "The competition will take place in an environment of a lot of peace and tranquility."

Brazil insists 2014 World Cup will be peaceful
USA Today
November 23, 2010

Airports a Potential Embarrassment for Brazil

The Brazilian Sports Minister is warning that the country's airport infrastructure will be an embarrassment for the country during the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro if not improved.

Orlando Silva warned that not enough progress was being made in improving airports in the vast country which depends almost exclusively on air transport for long-distance travel.

"Today, I have a very strong concern about our airports," Silva told reporters during the Soccerex conference.

Brazil's airports a potential embarrassment: minister
November 23, 2010

Brazilian Officials See Opportunities in World Cup Preparations

Officials in Brazil are hoping to cash in on their investments for the 2014 World Cup, and to create a broad legacy from the event.

The city of Rio and the federal government's national economic growth acceleration plan (PAC) envisages investment of 4bn Brazilian reais ($2.33bn; £1.46) for the city.

The investment will be concentrated in three areas: logistics (including roads, railways, ports, waterways, and airports), energy (including generation and transmission of electric power, petroleum, natural gas and renewable energy) and various other social and urban projects.

Brazil looks to score sporting and economic legacy
November 22, 2010

No Return Possible on Brazil's Stadium Investments

Economists are saying it will be impossible to generate a return on Brazil's $2.8 billion investment in stadia for the 2014 World Cup.

Brazilian states are awarding contracts that may be worth as much as $18 million a year to groups that run Amsterdam Arena and Lisbon’s Estadio da Luz to oversee facilities planned for the 2014 tournament. New York-based IMG Worldwide Inc. is looking at sites, chief executive officer Ted Forstmann said in an interview.

Arenas are being constructed in the financial hub of Sao Paulo through to poorer areas such as the Amazon state capital, Manaus. A financial return on the new buildings is “impossible” because most soccer stadiums are used too infrequently, according to Paul Fletcher, a former commercial director of London’s Wembley Stadium.

Brazil Seeks `Impossible' Return on $2.8 Billion World Cup Site Spending
November 22, 2010

Brazil's Airports Blasted as Unready for Crowds

Brazil's airport infrastructure has been blasted by an official at a major airline association as being unready to host crowds associated with the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

The language used by Giovanni Bisignani, CEO of the International Air Transport Association, to describe Brazil's overwhelmed airports at an industry conference Thursday was some of the harshest criticism yet leveled at the nation on the topic.

"Brazil is Latin America's largest and fastest growing economy but air transport infrastructure is a growing disaster," he told industry leaders at a meeting of the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association in Panama. The organization represents 230 airlines around the world.

Air transport group critical of Brazil's airports
November 19, 2010

UK Eyes Bill to Guide Games Bidding Process

The UK government is looking to approve a Major Sporting Events Bill to help during the bidding process for major international sporting events.

Such events are becoming increasingly professional and, hence, place increasingly onerous and complex demands on the nations hosting them.

Winning a bid frequently requires the passage of new legislation as a matter of urgency.

The drafting of a new, generic sports events Act - covering issues such as visas, ticket touting, image/trademark protection and advertising - could, it is felt, act as a template for any event, leaving specific details to be addressed via a statutory instrument.

Exclusive: Government plans to introduce Major Sporting Events Act
November 15, 2010

London Olympics Costing Less Than Expected

Olympics officials in London are projecting lower costs for hosting the event. Recent estimates put the total cost of hosting the event $46.9 million lower than previously expected.

The report estimates the final cost of the Olympics and Paralympics at $11.6 billion, after $32.3 million was cut from the budget of the main stadium. That includes a savings of $11.3 million by scrapping a planned fabric wrap around the venue.

Olympic Delivery Authority chief executive David Higgins said organizers have saved a total of $1.2 billion since construction began.

Cost of London Olympics trimmed $46.9 million
USA Today
November 9, 2010

London Plans Cable Car Over Thames Ahead of Olympics

Transportation planners in London are proposing a cable car system across the Thames River, to be built in time for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Transport for London has now sent its plans for the £25 million project - which would connect the Royal Docks in east London with the O2 in south-east London - to Newham and Greenwich councils and the Thames Gateway Corporation.

If approved, the scheme would entail construction work on two two-storey stations either side of the river, as well as three towers supporting the cable, with the project scheduled for completion in time for the 2012 Olympics in east London.

Cable car scheme could create civil engineering jobs
November 11, 2010

Banks Offers $11.8 Billion for Sao Paulo-Rio Rail by 2016

Brazil's national development bank, BNDES, has offered to lend nearly $12 billion to help fund a high speed rail link between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, the country's two biggest cities.

The 30-year loan will pay interest of 6 percent plus another percentage point in fees related to credit risk, state lender BNDES said in a statement. Borrowers will only start paying the loan six months after the expected start of the train service between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro by 2016.

The BNDES funding is equivalent to 60 percent of the estimated 33 billion reais cost of the project. The consortium that will build the railway will be picked in an auction scheduled for Dec. 16, the statement added.

Brazil offers to lend $11.8 bln for high-speed train
November 8, 2010

Creating Better World Cup Legacies

This post from The Shin Guardian looks at the often negative impacts of World Cup hosting, and offers some ideas about how the event can be reframed to create more positive legacies for the host cities and their people.

♦ FIFA should pay for at least 75% of all stadium renovation and construction projects undertaken for the World Cup. Infrastructure projects related to the World Cup cannot take form unless they were already indicated as part of a city’s master plan. If improvements in access and transportation to stadiums need to be made, they need to go through the same democratic planning procedures as other urban infrastructure projects.

♦ All World Cup stadium projects must include spaces that are dedicated to the preservation and continuation of local football cultures. This could take the form of “living museums”, soccer fields, education facilities, or cultural centers.

Brazil 2014: Proposing Alternatives
The Shin Guardian
November 2, 2010

Brazil's Green Building Industry Grows Ahead of 2016 Olympics

The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are expected to help boost the green building industry in Brazil.

Global concerns about the impact of arenas and stadiums led the International Olympic Committee to require arenas built for the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro meet international standards for low carbon emissions and energy efficiency.

This has boosted local interest in developing real estate that with lower environmental impact than existing buildings, a trend that comes as the Brazilian government is carrying out a long-term infrastructure expansion program meant to make its economy more competitive.

Brazil Olympics spurring green construction
November 3, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Japan Banks on Tech in 2022 World Cup Bid

With plans to present holographic versions of the matches, Japan's hoping its technology focus will help it secure hosting rights to the 2022 World Cup.

The hyper application would include other services, including a digital ticketing system combining matches and public transport, an electronic money service, GPS navigation to venues, match commentaries and a real-time automatic translation system supporting 50 languages.

The action on the field will be captured by 200 mini cameras and 70 microphones in the stadium, creating 360 degree coverage of the pitch.

"Viewers would be able to choose a viewpoint, which could be from the centre circle, the goalkeeper's position or the referee's perspective," said Nakajima, adding that the sound would even allow spectators to hear the players breathing.

"They can manipulate the perspective so that it would be very personal."

Japan banking on technology for 2022 World Cup bid
October 27, 2010

Qatar's Eco-Friendly Stadia Take Heat Over High Energy Demand

The Emirate of Qatar is touting its high-tech plans for eco-friendly stadia as part of its bid to host the 2022 World Cup, but some environmentalists argue that there's nothing environmentally conscious about a major stadium in the middle of a desert that will require massive amounts of energy.

As the Middle East environmental blog Green Prophet points out, creating an environment that allows people to watch and play sports in one of the hottest places on the planet will require a lot of energy. Mark Fenwick, one of the architects involved with the project, admitted as much, saying: "Certainly the most important challenge for stadium design in the Middle East has to do with the need to cool the interior environment to an acceptable level, especially in the summer months."

Qatar's Green Plan for a 2022 World Cup Stadium: Is It Really as Eco-friendly as It Looks?
October 29, 2010

Security the Big Challenge for Rio: IOC Chief

Security and to a lesser degree transportation will be the top two challenges Rio de Janeiro will need to tackle ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympics, according to Jacques Rogge, head of the International Olympic Committee.

“I’m not saying Rio is not equipped (to confront the problem).

On the contrary, but I have to say that the number one issue is security. We are talking about human lives.

“The second main problem, and it’s one that can be applied to all editions of the Games, with a few rare exceptions, is transport.”

Security wil be Rio's biggest Olympic challenge: Rogge
November 1, 2010

South Africa's Lessons for Brazil in Overinvestment and Poor ROI

The economic impact of the World Cup has been mainly a loss for South Africa, according to this piece in the Financial Times -- a reality that the author says Brazil needs to face sooner rather than later.

South Africa had been saying the tournament would increase tourism, create jobs, build useful infrastructure, etc. But she realised: “It wasn’t going to be giving us the benefits that we had told the country the World Cup was going to give us.” True, Johannesburg’s creaky transport links would improve a bit, but “it wasn’t as much as we had thought”. And so, over a year before kickoff, Gauteng quietly binned hopes of economic bonanza. Somehow the officials forgot to tell the South African people, but then running a province keeps you busy. In the event, predictably, the tournament went well over budget, and attracted few big-spending visitors. I recently got an e-mail from an official at one South African university, which had reserved 92,000 “bed-nights” for football visitors. Shortly before the tournament began, he says, Fifa’s booking agency returned 91,000 nights unused. “We are still trying to sell off the additional linen we had to purchase,” the official complains. If sports economists are right, the Cup won’t boost future tourism and foreign investment in South Africa either.

South Africa’s football lesson
Financial Times
October 30, 2010

London Tube Gets Wi-Fi Ahead of 2012 Olympics

Wi-Fi Internet access will be installed on a trial basis in a London Underground station. Officials are hoping to have wireless Internet access in the entire system by the 2012 Summer Olympics.

The six month trial will bring wi-fi connectivity to the ticket hall and both the Bakerloo and Northern line platforms.

It will be free for BT broadband customers and for mobile users with free wi-fi minutes.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson wants to see widespread mobile coverage.

The Charing Cross trial begins on 1 November.

Tube gets first wi-fi connection at Charing Cross
October 29, 2010