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Archive for June, 2013


Jun 14 2013

Brazil 2013: And that’s a wrap!

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By Alexander Bearman

During the SIM Sports Immersion trip in Brazil, students and instructors took the opportunity not only observe and experience the ins and outs of the country’s emerging sports industry but also the richness and vibrancy of it’s culture. Often characterized as the happiest people in the world, Brazilians are a fun-loving and jovial people who certainly know how to have a good time. SIM students took advantage of opportunities to sample decadent barbeque, visit the vibrant beaches of Rio di Janeiro, and dance at one of the country’s most historic samba clubs.

On the first leg of the trip in São Paulo, students were impressed by the vastness of the urban center. As the largest city in South America, and by some accounts, the fourth largest in the world, the business capital of Brazil offered a dizzying amount of options for nightlife and culture. Beyond taking in a soccer match at the city’s public stadium, a cultural experience in and of itself, SIM students navigated the city’s web of streets to find the most exciting and energetic neighborhoods. Along the way, students befriended many locals – at some point swapping business cards and Facebook information to ensure that the connections made last over time.

Evident to most was the friendly and welcoming nature of the Paulistas (the nickname of those hailing from São Paulo).

After what was a very rich three and half days in São Paulo, SIM students said goodbye to the city and their gracious tour guide Lee, who was provided by our chosen tour guide company Austral. On Wednesday morning the group boarded a short 45-minute flight for Rio Di Janeiro, transferring upon arrival to their hotel just blocks from the glorious Ipanema beach. Thanks to Professor Jimmy Lynn, a frequent visitor to Rio, the SIM group was given a great introduction to the city and a helpful initial tour of the immediate neighborhood.

The beaches of Rio very much define the city. Brazilians flock to the seaside to top off their tans and play any number of beach sports such as volleyball, soccer, foot volleyball (no hands!)  and an interesting form of beach tennis. Cariocas (the affectionate tag for those hailing from Rio) are in perpetual motion. Physical fitness is an obvious priority for this beautiful people as they bike, run and work out on the public exercise equipment and jogging paths provided by the municipality.

With all this exercise, it is easy to build up an appetite, and when the Cariocas eat, they don’t hold back.  Thanks to the suggestion of Jimmy Lynn, the SIM group headed to local Brazilian steak house Porcão. After enjoying the national cocktail of Brazil- the caipirinha – a potent combination of lime, sugar and sugar cane rum, the meat started arriving at the table and once it did, it seemingly never stopped. SIM students enjoyed a dizzying array of beef cuts, sausages, and pork. At one point, your writer even sampled some chicken hearts, and, what can be said other than “it tastes just like chicken”!

Ultimately, and thanks to help from our attentive tour guides, some of the students were given a tour of the restaurant’s kitchen by the gracious staff.  What we witnessed was a unique form of barbeque unlike what we see and know in the US, with meats cooked rotisserie style over an open flame.  After many photos with our proud hosts for the evening, we returned to the table to share an amazing fact – 200 kilos of meat were put to the fire each night at Porcão. Sorry vegetarians!

After getting our fill of Brazil’s finest meats, we settled in for a number of days of productive meetings and tours. As our comfort levels and fascination with Rio grew we knew that our trip would not be complete without experiencing the final key component of Brazilian culture – music. This quest took us to the Lapa neighborhood on Friday – our final evening in Rio. In Lapa, we listened and danced to authentic samba music in the venerable club Rio Scenarium. Thanks to our wonderful host and tour guide Raqel, many of our fellow classmates learned all the proper moves and were keeping up with the Brazilians by the end! Yet again, it was obvious that Brazilians never stop moving.

While the focus of the 2013 SIM trip to Brazil was educational, the learning was not contained to a meeting room or lecture hall. Students and professors alike took the opportunity to immerse themselves in the richness of the Brazilian culture and form bonds with each other and the people they met.

As many of us move through the Georgetown program and seek professional advancement – either globally or in the United States – we have all grown thanks to this experience. As future sports executives, gaining critical insight into the professional sports climate abroad can only serve as a way of effectively measuring and understanding our industry domestically. Additionally, and as we continually observed and discussed, there exist many opportunities to grow the business of sports in Brazil and certainly other parts of the developing world.

While we collectively as a group worked hard to prepare for and focus on our many professionally engagements in country, we never stopped having fun and remaining curious.  Engaging and excelling in business in a foreign country demands a level of cultural fluency that we all acquired during our week of travel with this SIM group.  Sitting on the beaches of Rio or dancing in one of their lively clubs will forever be part of our personal stories.

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Jun 11 2013

Brazil 2013: SIM Connections- Alum Alicia Klein

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By Kevin Warner

The legacy of Georgetown University runs deep in Brazil.  Each unique site visit or meeting this sports immersion class encountered was so incredulous.  For a week we sat around the conference room tables and questioned executives from: Interlagos F1, AEG, ESPN Brazil, RIO 2016 Olympic Committee, and the NBA.  After each meeting, upon boarding the bus we are stuck thinking not about the honor we just had, but rather how we can infuse their answers and teachings into our own lives, thus aiding our personal pursuit of a sports career.  Still, one can only wonder if a student from Georgetown University can reach the career heights these professionals have in Brazil.

We had been in Rio de Janeiro for a day and a half, and had experienced the difficulties of scheduling business meetings in Brazil, as just the day before CBF managing director Manoel Flores canceled last minute.  When the question of “How far can we bring ourselves in this industry?” was coming into our minds, we sat down with Georgetown SIM graduate and Golden Goal sponsorship director Alicia Klein.  The scene for our out-of-the-box but necessary meeting location was set in a “private” section of a local Rio restaurant, with music playing just loud enough that you needed to lean forward to hear the person sitting two seats away.  Alicia taught us how much weight the Georgetown insignia carries for its graduates.  Previously with the Brazilian Olympic Committee, she provided an overview of all things SIM and the sports industry in Brazil.

One of the biggest questions remains: Can the Brazilian sports industry emulate the revenue-generating sports models of the United States?  The question is especially relevant as the newly renovated Arena Fonte Nova roof collapsed soon after the construction was finished.  Alicia spoke about how the culture of the sports experience will need to change in Brazil, explaining that “once the fans understand the change the culture will follow suit.”  Our personal experience watching the Corinthians match on the first night provided the outline of that need for change.  In a country focused more on the quality of its athletes and less about the revenue a game can provide, it showed why Alicia focused repeatedly on the idea that “sport is supposed to be fun, but it is supposed to make money,” and it is the opportunity of revenue that was never known to be a possibility in Brazil.   With the World Cup and Olympics in hand, Brazil is on the cusp of a reinvented sports culture.


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Jun 11 2013

Brazil 2013: Experiencing the Culture of Rio

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By Tianna Howard

From the moment we got to Rio de Janeiro, I knew exactly where I would spend every moment of my free time – the beach. Rio is famous for its amazing views of Sugar Loaf Mountain, the Twin Brothers Mountains and Christ the Redeemer; all of which can be seen best on the shores of Ipanema and Copacabana beaches. To the people of Rio, the beach is a host of fun, relaxation and activity. Fresh coconut water was at your fingertips at all times as volleyball nets lined the sea wall. From bike lanes to foot-volley and soccer, it was evident that no matter your social class in Rio, everyone could somehow enjoy and afford the beach.

Friday night was honestly the night we all had been waiting for. Jimmy and our tour-guide (who I now call my Rio Mom) Rakel had filled our heads with the excitement of the Samba clubs, bands and dancers that took over the streets of Lapa on the weekend. Needless to say, our night at the famous restaurant and bar, Rio Scenarium, exceeded our expectations. By 10:30PM the place was filled with the sounds of two different Samba bands on the first and second floor. Both the men and women moved their feet  to a quick two-step motion as they sang along to songs they recognized from their childhood…it was amazing.

Samba is one of the many children of origin of Brazil, but particularly in Rio de Janeiro. The rhythm of the drums and guitar are the product of West African slave descendants and their migrations mainly from Bahia Brazil. The favelas of Rio de Janeiro are famous for producing some of the most famous Samba band members in the world because they are home to many samba schools, some as large as 5,000 people.

Samba is the heartbeat of Brazil, and the trip would not have been complete without it. The people of Brazil are passionate and content, and although no country is free from its own problems, the cares of the Cariocas disappear in the presence of the beach and samba.

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Jun 10 2013

Brazil 2013: Day 7: (06/07/2013)- Save the Best for Last

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By Renee Panebianco

What a way to end the Brazil Immersion Course trip: a relaxing day of tourism. On our plate for today was visiting Sugarloaf, Estádio do Maracanã and the world-renowned Christ the Redeemer statue in said order. Truly saving the best for last, we were able to relax and enjoy the last item on itinerary, the infamous statue.

Everyone was in casual outfits, the sun was out and we were ready for a day of sightseeing.

We assembled in the lobby of the hotel and started our journey by bus. Our first stop was Sugarloaf Mountain. Compliments of Jimmy Lynn’s generosity, students were able to ride by cable car to the peak of the mountain. Some students were petrified of the heights and riding the cable car up (sitting on the floor during our ascension), while others enjoyed the spectacular views and attempted to take pictures of every angle of Rio de Janeiro.

                The top of Sugarloaf gave the students breath-taking and spectacular views of Rio de Janeiro, some that we would have been unable to see had we not ventured to the top of the mountain.  On descent, we were able to yet again, take pictures and admire the beauty of Brazil at amazing heights.  One of the sights I saw from the cable car of Sugarloaf was Christ the Redeemer. To the naked eye, the statue looked like a one-inch stick while in reality it is 98 feet tall. There was no time to get too excited about visiting the statue since we still had one stop before we get to this site.

                Back on the bus, we headed to the Estádio do Maracanã.  Unlike the Palmeiras Stadium we visited in Sao Paulo, we would only see this stadium from the outside and not venture into the world famous stadium. Brazil hosted one prior World Cup in this stadium, which many locals do not care to remember since it was in 1950 and Brazil lost the game to Uruguay sending Brazilians into a state of depression. We arrived and took pictures of this gargantuan stadium that will be hosting the final World Cup match on 13 July 2014. The visit was minimal as there was no tour but that was fine because now we were off to Christ the Redeemer, definitely the best part of the day for me.

                Back on the tour bus, we were heading to Christ the Redeemer.  We arrived earlier than we anticipated and were able to change our tour reservation from four o’clock to two o’clock. This is was terrific, and we grabbed a quick bite to eat across the street from the train station just before our tour of the statue.  I use the term “quick” lightly, as we had to scoff down our food in 5 minutes (less time than the Army gives Soldiers to eat in Basic Training) and quickly embark on the train.

                The Trem do Corcovado (trolley) carried us up through the Tijuca Forest slowly but surely.

There were two stops before we arrived to our final destination.  At one of the stops, a trio of men with bright yellow shirts came on board.   Shirts stamped with “Bom de Samba” on front, these men started to play local music and grabbed passengers to come dance. Sarah and Tianna were up front before we knew it.  The music stopped and I continued to look out the window trying to get glimpse of the forest.

                The higher in elevation we reached, the denser the clouds became.  From the start of the day being bright with the sun beaming rays of sunshine, it was now overcast and I could not see more than 5 meters in front.  This was just fine, since I knew it going to be better shortly. It was only a matter of time before we were going to be at the Christ the Redeemer!  After the trolley ride, we still had to go up one more flight by walking up a set of 300 stairs or elevator. Of course I chose the easier route – elevator for me, please.

                We arrived at the top and the statue disappeared!  To be the largest Art Deco statue in the world, it should be clearly visible.  The clouds managed to swallow up statue!  After a couple minutes

I heard cheers and jeers and immediately start seeing everyone, from young to old doing “the pose” as the clouds cleared up and you could see the status. During the NFL season, everyone does the Tebow pose, kneeling down in prayer, as it was even shortened to “Tebowing.”  Well, at the Christ the Redeemer, children, teenagers and elderly all laid out their arms to imitate the pose of the statue and quickly took pictures. Then the clouds quickly swirled around the statue making it invisible yet again.

                With the clouds playing a game of hide-and-seek with the statue of Christ the Redeemer, it made it very difficult to take pictures but I was taught persistence is key. Staying around, giving into the game of hide-and-seek, pictures were spectacular and turning out to be better than if it were simply sunny.

                Pictures of Christ the Redeemer range from the statue being minimally covered in dense clouds to fully covered with me throwing my arms up to nothing behind me but clouds as the clouds won the game of hide-and-seek with no statue behind me. A few pictures look quite eerie as the statue looks like it is emerging from the clouds in a supernatural way, something that one could only see in the movies.

                Ultimately, we did our day of tourism and saved the best for last.  The experience at Christ the Redeemer was one that I will always remember. The best part is I have stories to tell my coworkers, since I was the only one who did not know this statue of Christ the Redeemer really existed and thought it was a “prop” used in the movies. 

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Jun 07 2013

Brazil 2013: Day 6 (06/06/2013)- Rio Olympic Committee

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By Laura Lammers

The people and their passion for sport define the city of Rio de Janeiro. Walking up and down the Ipanema and Copacabana beaches you can see volleyball games and groups in circles kicking a futbol between one another. Locals are running at all hours of the day, riding bikes, skateboarding, roller-blading even. This is a city that loves sports and activity, and it will be on display for the world to see during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

On October 2, 2009 the 2016 Olympic Games were awarded to Rio de Janeiro after two previously unsuccessful bids. The city knew that they would get the Games soon, but it was just a matter of time. Brazil and the city of Rio de Janeiro have been growing at an impressive rate in the last few decades, which has not gone unnoticed on the world stage. Rio successfully hosted the 2007 Pan American Games, which ultimately helped them win (along with three huge binders outlining their plans) the 2016 Games.

We met with Henrique Fontenelle, Director of International Relations for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Committee, who took us through the bid for the Games and the incredible planning and logistics that go into hosting the Olympics, i.e. what was contained in those three big binders presented to the International Olympic Committee. But first things first: how exactly does a city win the bid to host the Games?  Well…

There are various phases of the bidding process. A city begins that process as an applicant to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which determines what cities host the Games. After the city is approved and accepted it becomes a candidate city. The four candidate cities for the 2016 Games were Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo. After three rounds of voting, Rio was selected as the eventual winner. Given the two previously unsuccessful bids, Fontenelle let us know that hosting the 2007 Pan American Games made all the difference, which demonstrated to the world that Rio was ready for hosting an event of the size and scope of the Olympics.

Once Rio was selected, the implementation process began. This is in and of itself a very tricky and ultimately very bureaucratic process. One would think that this country, not too far removed from military dictatorship, would be exhaustively detailed (which it certainly is in some ways), however it’s an interesting organizational chart for deciphering what committee or part of the government is ultimately responsible for certain projects, venues, financing, etc. When asked, even Fontenelle didn’t have a straight answer. TBD.

The Rio Olympic Committee overall acts as the blueprint for the Games (think of it as they’re the software, the government is the hardware building everything), having received information from the London 2012 Games in a debriefing as part of an IOC Knowledge Transfer Program. The organizers of the London Games passed on all their wisdom from hosting the Games to those in Rio, however each city has a different culture and more importantly different government structure to work within. So, what exactly does the Rio Olympic Committee have to prepare for? By the numbers:

  • 41 championships in 7 days
  • 10,500 athletes from 204 countries
  • 25,100 media professionals
  • 70,000 volunteers
  • 8.8 million tickets sold

Easy enough, right? Keep in mind that it’s not just the Olympic Games, but the Paralympic Games which occur 10 days after the conclusion of the regular Games they are preparing to host. One thing that makes these Games particularly unique is that all the events are being held in the city, whereas for most a handful of events were held in surrounding areas.

One key component to the Olympic bid is legacy planning. Exactly what will happen with the venues and structures built for events, athletes and tourists? All of the venues being built will be used after the Games, either for teams or future sporting events in Rio de Janeiro, while some are actually temporary structures that will serve other purposes, for example one of the Olympic Halls will become four schools after the Games. Since the 2000 Sydney Games sustainability has been an important part of the Olympic bidding process and there are certain standards that must be fulfilled now as part of a city’s plan to host the Games.

Another part of the legacy process includes infrastructure, transportation, and safety for the city. Rio is known for its favelas, or slums that surround the city, which almost a third of the city residents live in. Part of the planning process includes implementing pacification police (otherwise known as UPP’s), and programs to educate youth through their interest in sports. One important thing to note is that sports in Brazil are structured differently from the United States. Children go to school for 4-5 hours in the morning and sports aren’t extracurricular activities like they are in the U.S. The Olympic Committee’s goal is to use sports to keep kids physically active, educated, and make school a place that kids want to go.

The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will be a wonderful experience – from the people to the beauty and scenery of the city to the competition among world class athletes. Tickets will be available for US$30, so book your tickets now and look forward to the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janiero!

For more information on the 2016 Olympic Games: http://www.rio2016.org/.

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Jun 06 2013

Brazil 2013: Day 3 (06/03/2013)- Palmeiras

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By Lucy Eckard

Today, we were treated to a once in a lifetime experience, a tour that was about as behind-the-scenes as you can get.  We were able to put on our hard hats and get an exclusive tour of the new Palmeiras stadium, presently called Nova Arena, which is currently in the middle of construction.  The construction company in charge of the project is a local, private company called WTorre, who was commissioned directly to build the stadium, meaning no other bids were taken.  A representative from the company led us around the complex, from the concrete shell to a sample box suite.  Allianz has already purchased the naming rights to the stadium and the official name will be released later this week, so stay tuned.  In addition to WTorre, Palmeiras has enlisted the help of AEG to manage the complex and also help develop the fan experience side of the venue.  The venue will serve many functions as well.

As part of a recreational club, there are swimming pools, gyms, basketball courts, and tennis courts on site.  The stadium itself will host soccer games, smaller concerts in its amphitheater section (at one end of the stadium), large concerts in the main section of the stadium, and large business meetings in the on-site conference center.  As far as capacity, the stadium can hold 45,000 people for a game, 12,000 in the amphitheater, and 55,000 people in the big shows.

As far as seating levels in the stadium, there are two different tiers, one at field level and one at the top level.  There are also two levels of VIP boxes, which add up to 160 boxes total.  These boxes will include food and drink service and cost $500,000 Reals ($250,000 USD) per year, which is at the same level as luxury seating in the Yankees and Cowboys stadiums.

Another modern element to the new stadium is its environmental consciousness.  We have all learned about Brazil’s commitment to environmental conservation and this stadium is no different.  In its construction, many of the materials of the old stadium were re-formed and used in the new stadium.  It is also LEED certified, meaning that many of the lights, toilets and other facilities are environmentally friendly. This is definitely something we see in the US, but only in the newest stadiums.  While Brazil may be behind in certain areas, they are certainly ahead of the game when it comes to being “green”.

At the Corinthians game on Saturday night I had been especially shocked at the limited amount of sponsorship signage throughout the stadium.  I had heard that Brazil was a bit behind in such areas, but to see the difference between a US sports stadium and Brazilian stadium is striking.  Imagine going to a Redskins game at FedEx field and seeing nothing but a few signs on the field and one small screen with the score.  After seeing this, I was particularly interested in sponsorship opportunities at the Nova Arena site.  Our guide informed us that there will be many areas and mediums that sponsors will be able to utilize.  There will be two LED rings around the stadium not only with game information, like scores and time, but also continual sponsor signage throughout the game.  Additionally, there will be two screens at each end of the field and even screens throughout the concourse that can be signs as well.  A final sponsorship opportunity will be to sponsor the two different tiers of seats.  He explained that both the upper and lower rings of seats would be available to premier sponsors.  It is clear that, with the World Cup and FIFA as a model, Brazil is moving toward the US model of monetization and it will be interesting to see the economic impact and also fan reactions.

Another particularly interesting issue here in Brazil is the sale of alcohol at professional sports events.  Currently, alcohol is not allowed anywhere in soccer stadiums here, which makes sense because of the security issues that already exist, but alcohol is also a huge revenue opportunity that should not be missed.  The World Cup, however, does not miss this opportunity and alcohol is sold in all of the stadiums.  Because the World Cup is run by FIFA, the sale is permitted and the World Cup also has a major sponsorship deal with Budweiser.  Brazilian soccer stadiums and clubs are going to use the World Cup as an opportunity to amend the current laws.  They believe the success of the World Cup will show that alcohol should be allowed in stadiums and its sale is a revenue stream that cannot be avoided much longer.  As far as sponsorships, alcohol companies will still buy them, even without being able to sell product, simply because the exposure is so great.

Brazil definitely has some great opportunities ahead when it comes to the sport of soccer and its continued monetization.  The potential for profit is so great and it seems that the World Cup is accelerating the move to increase sponsorships and overall revenue.  Though this move may impact the fan experience, the sport is so popular and the fandom is so strong that fans will flock no matter what.  It seems crazy that it has taken this long to take advantage of the revenue potential of Brazilian soccer, but with the World Cup coming to town, it is an inevitable move that will be intriguing to watch in the coming years.

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Jun 05 2013

Brazil 2013: Day 4 (06/04/2013)- AEG

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By Erin Lockwood

Tuesday afternoon was filled with much anticipated excitement as we met with Rafael Eboli, the current Manager of Content Development, Booking and Events with AEG. If you didn’t know already, AEG is one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world. AEG owns, controls, and is affiliated with a collection of companies including over 100 of the world’s preeminent facilities to include the Staples Center in LA, the O2 Arena in London, and just recently the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. The Maracana Stadium will be a host stadium for the World Cup games in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.

But let’s travel back to Monday, when we visited the skeleton of what will be the newly renovated Nova Arena (that’s because the name hasn’t been decided yet), which will host the Palmeiras Soccer club. This arena, which was being managed by Outbox, asked AEG to come on board to help develop and operate the stadium. Currently, Rafael is working out of their office, as they also begin to develop, operate, and manage local soccer stadiums and their “Live” venues in Sao Paolo and Rio. I should also mention that in comparison to Saturday night’s soccer game in the Municipal Stadium, this stadium will be much more magnificent and run more like a football stadium in the United States.  It will include club level suites and transition into an amphitheater so it can host musical acts including One Direction next May.

Brazil’s goal is to run its stadiums as we do here in the U.S. by bringing in more revenue from musical acts, events, conventions and an outdoor Live area similar to LA Live!, which has restaurants, movie theaters, hotels and much more. Another fun fact is that even though soccer is HUGE in Brazil, they make less revenue than any of the MLS stadiums in the US because of the fact that they don’t have the organizational infrastructure that American stadiums do.

Now back to today, Rafael did a fantastic job presenting. He explained how he just relocated down to Brazil from LA, where he has worked with AEG for 3 years. His job is to help the first phase of AEG in Brazil, by working with the facilities to manage and operate while also booking and consulting.

Brazilian developers wanted to emulate LA Live and the stadiums in the U.S. after seeing how well run they are so AEG is currently working on stadiums in Rio and Sao Paolo to help manage them, which in turn will benefit the clubs. They first started with the Americana in Rio. They were worried that since the soccer clubs attract the lower class and seating is general admission, that having assigned seating would be a challenge which would upset the public.

AEG understands that the change will be a gradual process, especially in training the locals to run the facilities and getting people to pay for premium seating. However they believe this will be a positive change because more people will be able to navigate the stadiums easier by entering through the correct gate and the workers will be more prepared compared to present. This will in turn create a more meaningful and positive experiences for their fans.

AEG, who was asked by Outbox to help in the operation and management of Nova Arena, doesn’t typically go looking for new venues. They already operate and manage many of arenas, stadiums, convention centers and theaters on top of consulting, promoting, and ticketing and event management; so it makes sense that they do not ultimately go looking for more work. But their policy is, if the right partnership is offered and a good deal is to be made, they will go for it and welcome the new business.

Rafael and AEG are prepared for the problems that may arise with the new stadiums and the changes to come in terms of ticketing and costs. With the Maracana Stadium, the World Cup will be the wake up call. But because the World Cup is two years prior to the Olympics, they should be able to fix those problems and prepare well in advance.

To end our meeting, he informed us that for those who are considering working in Rio, the city needs people with expertise in event management and are prepared to do a lot of work. More importantly, they need people who can educate the staffers in those venues on what is to be done. This is a whole new outlook for the stadiums in Brazil and their soccer clubs. Change can be difficult, but with the right team of employees, change can also be very good.

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Jun 05 2013

Brazil 2013: Day 4 (06/04/2013)- ESPN Brasil

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By Sarah Fitzpatrick

The Georgetown SIM Global Immersion group visited the ESPN Brasil offices in Sao Paulo, Brazil. ESPN Brasil is young, only 17 years in operation, but the company has immense potential. Currently, the station has 3 active channels, radio, and a company website targeting a variety of markets

ESPN Brasil has recently acquired the broadcasting rights to the FIFA World Cup 2014 and the Rio Summer Olympics 2016. They also have rights to broadcast the Copa de Brasil, but do not have exclusive rights due to the broadcasting/media powerhouse, Globo. Because Globo has an 85% market share, it poses challenges for ESPN Brasil to purchase the broadcasting rights to a majority of soccer games and events. Soccer is more than a sport in Brazil and South America, it is a lifestyle. Not having local and national soccer broadcasting rights hinders ESPN Brasil’s success. ESPN Brasil is looking to expand by acquiring the broadcasting rights to other sporting events including X Games, golf, and tennis. Tapping into new markets and broadcasting new, and less popular sports has not proven to be an easy expansion tactic. Although they are attracting a different fan base, ESPN Brasil’s broadcast of unpopular or “newer” sports do not meet rating expectations. The company’s greatest attribute is their independence and ability to cover what the fans want to see. To increase the ESPN Brasil fan base the station produces stories and bios about the country’s athletes.


There are many areas in which sports can grow in Brazil. The NFL is rapidly growing in popularity in part because of quality of the Super Bowl and game transmissions. ESPN Brasil even created a segment titled “The Book is on the Table,” explaining the rules and format of the game to Brazilian viewers. The NFL is hoping to have an exhibition game in Brazil in 2016 or 2017.

Basketball is another sport looking to develop in Brazil. Although the country has produced players like Nene who currently plays center for the Washington Wizards, knowledge of the game and fan base is down. ESPN only has the broadcasting rights to Brazilian regional basketball championships.

Brazil is an emerging global market and therefore the opportunities for growth and expansion are endless. Each year the company has over 3,000 applicants and hires numerous interns. The company’s social progression has created more opportunities for women to get involved in the sports industry. In fact, the presentation to the SIM students was given by two female executives. ESPN Brasil is also striving to make a philanthropic footprint in country by starting the project Sports Caravan, a project so meaningful it caught the attention of UNICEF who is now partnering with ESPN Brasil in their efforts.

Overall, the experience was informative and motivational for the SIM students. Brazil offers countless opportunities for young sports professional to make huge impact in the sports industry.

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Jun 04 2013

Brazil 2013: Day 3 (06/03/2013)- Rain or Shine, We Drive On; Interlagos Formula One Stadium

by at 10:06 am

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By Elizabeth Cohen

On this rainy and cold afternoon, I was day-dreaming about Vin Diesel and Paul Walker racing through the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil in Formula One (F1) race cars to save their family and friends from danger. It may not have been the original Fast & the Furious movie but hearing about Sao Paulo F1 racing in 1929 was sounding more like a movie then reality. The drivers were rounding the local streets dangerously close to the spectators to pick up the checkered flag.

Before 1940 there was no stadium in Sao Paulo for F1 racing. Following a horrific crash, which killed some spectators, the stock exchange crash, and the Brazilian revolution,  Interlagos F1 was finally built. It now holds 4309 meters of track for the most powerful, popular and high-class open-wheel circuit racing in the world.

While we know futbol is the most popular sport in Brazil, and the majority of the world, F1 racing is not too far behind in popularity with the local people. Over 80,000 people attend Interlagos to watch the Brazil Grand Prix at the end of the F1 schedule, most recently this past November. This billion-dollar business on average could bring almost $60 million dollars in revenue to Sao Paulo as a result of this one race.

            While I’m mostly used to NASCAR, which is one of the most watched sport in the United States, F1 racing takes fast cars to another level. These cars are so tough to steer the drivers have to be solid to their core and move the cars up to 350 km/h (220 mph) for over 71 laps.

            Currently, there is only one Brazilian driver, Felipe Massa, in the circuit but between 1970 and 1995, the Brazilian drivers had secured eight Driver Championships. The drivers include two-time winner Emerson Fittipaldi (‘72, ‘74), three-time winner Nelson Pique (‘80s) and 31-year-old Ayrton Senna (‘80s & ’90s).

While we visited Interlagos, Francisco Rosa, Circuit Manager, was kind enough to speak to us about his experience and knowledge of the history of Interlagos F1. He has had numerous roles to include commentator but I was most intrigued by the personal request of Emerson to have him on his team during his most successful seasons in the 1970s. It showed how truly important Rosa is considered in the F1 world.

            Also, besides the fact that I was able to ride on the actual course and pretend to cross that finish line, there was one more interesting detail to our trip. Interlagos is a public municipality, which is common in Brazil. The majority of the money is ciphered back to the city and state of Sao Paulo. My experience in the United States is dealing with a majority of privately owned sports teams and venues. I’d be curious to ponder what the future would be for a team, such as the Boston Red Sox, if the venue were owned by the city of Boston and state of Massachusetts. Do you think that it would still exist or even be able to afford the renovations and make necessary updates?

            The majority of the tourism visiting Brazil between 2014-2016 will be for the FIFA World Cup & Summer Olympics; I’m thinking while everyone else is busy with futbol, I may come visit to experience the rush of F1 racing in Brazil next time.


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Jun 03 2013

Brazil 2013: Day 2 (06/02/2013)- Morumbi Stadium & Soccer Museum Visit

by at 3:58 pm

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By Shayla Swanson
Ola from Sao Paolo!

What kind of impact can sports have on a country?

As the group settled in and became better acquainted with the surroundings, we were able to visit Morumbi Stadium and the Soccer Museum. Despite the cloudy and rainy weather, the visit to Morumbi Stadium proved to be an eye opening experience. The stadium will not be used for the 2014 World Cup as it proves too difficult for patrons to access. The stadium is not a municipal owned stadium and is owned by Sao Paolo’s futbol club. The stadium is beautiful and is currently able to seat 38,000 people. Being able to stand in this empty stadium allowed us to fully appreciate all that is needed to successfully house an event as major as the World Cup, local championships and even the Olympics.
One thing that I took notice of, was the abundance of labeled exits which is important in the eyes of any venue operations executive. Safety of patrons will always be top priority, and given the level of competitiveness between different clubs and their supporters, safety will remain top priority here in Brazil. With such a rich history in sports, Morumbi Stadium will be an ideal location, given the improvement of accessibility, for some major events in the future.

In response to the question posed at the beginning of this blog:

The visit to the soccer museum was an amazing experience. It is located at the Estadio Pacaembu (where we watched the Corinthian match last night). We were able to see first hand just how passionate Brazilians are about their sport of choice. We learned about the history of soccer and when it was introduced in Brazil. We saw how soccer has been instilled in the millions of lives all over Brazil. To these people, soccer is not just a sport, it is a way of life. From historical matches between Corinthians and Ponte Preta to Brazil’s heart-wrenching loss to Uruguay in the 1950’s, we were able to see the deep rooted passion that Brazilians have for sports and healthy competition overall. The legendary Pele was featured, as was the present day phenom, Neymar. We were able to see the amount of growth the sport of soccer has endured in this country. With interactive components, the museum proved to be a very educational and fulfilling experience. A nice ending to such an experience was a quaint restaurant that had excellent service and great food! 
For an avid soccer fan, and a newcomer to the sport, the Soccer Museum allowed for common understanding that to Brazil, soccer was and is the lifeline that many rely on for everyday satisfaction

See you tomorrow! Ciao y abrigada!!!

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