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Sam Yarin's Weblog


Oct 16 2015

Brazil 2015: Day 3 (10/15/2015) – FGV, the Legacy of Mega Events in Brazil

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By Justin Scheinert:

Soon after the excellent presentation at the office of the Rio Olympic Committee, SIM students were off to Fundacao Getulio Vargas, often abbreviated as FGV, to learn more about the impact of sport in Brazil.  FGV not only houses the best business school in Brazil, named the Escola Brasileria de Administracao Publica e de Empersas (EBAPE), it is also ranked as the top think tank in Latin America and the eighteenth ranked think tank in the world.  

Cyrino Alvaro, the Deputy Dean of EBAPE, kicked the meeting off with a welcome remark and background information on FGV’s relationship with higher education institutions in the United States.  He specifically noted the successful five-year relationship between the business schools at both FGV and Georgetown University, with their co-operated Corporate International Master’s program, as well as a previous trip to the University of Texas at Austin.  After a brief description about these academic ventures, he introduced Dr. Andre Coelho, a Project Manager at FGV, who generously gave us his time on Professor’s Day in Brazil to present a terrific study about the legacy of sport in Brazil.

The study Professor Coelho shared with SIM students was titled “FIFA Football World Cup in Brazil and Mega Events Legacy.”  The study was started after the playing of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, with the goal of understanding the impact of sport on the city of Rio.  It encompassed important events, including the 2014 FIFA World Cup and major Brazilian cultural occasions, and culminated with the expectations of how the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics will affect both Rio and the entire nation of Brazil.

The main concept of the meeting, as has been the theme of our trip, is legacy.  In his presentation, Andre defined legacy as actions for future generations.  In summary, the successes and failures of events of such high magnitude can have significant impact immediately, on the current population, as well as on future generations.  Andre, who lives in the Maracana region of Rio, is very enthusiastic about the city’s opportunity to host such important sporting events.  He believes that the government forecast for success related to the lasting impact on the city is positive because of the monumental changes being made around the city.  Two of the most notable developments Rio has undergone since the announcement of hosting these events have been related to social and transportation issues.  Examples of these include the cleaning process of the favelas as well as the formation of metro lines across the four Olympic zones, Barra, Copacabana, Deodoro, and Maracana.

Unfortunately, there are two sides to every story.  Not all citizens in Rio share the same beliefs as Andre does.  In a time of political and economic struggle, many Brazilians believe the government is too focused on issues unrelated to these notable problems, such as sport.  Although Andre argues the overall image of Rio will resonate worldwide after the Olympics, people still fear the modus operandi of Brazil, which is a history of unaccomplished projects.  The opinion is that the games will create momentary change, and that’s only if each initiative is accomplished in time, and the issues they have faced for many years will once again appear after next summer.  

Andre ended his presentation by answering several questions, which gave each SIM student a chance to develop their own opinions about how Rio will fare once the games come to a close.  Although it is unrealistic to believe everyone in the group walked out with the same opinion, just as not everyone in Rio agrees on the matter, it is true that we are all excited to witness the games and evaluate the legacy of the Olympics on Rio when all is said and done.

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Oct 16 2015

Brazil 2015: Day 3 (10/15/2015) – Rio 2016 the Brazilian Way

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By Westanna Carleton:

Day three of our Rio adventure consisted of all things Olympics 2016. The group had two fantastic meetings planned of the day, the first being with Rodrigo Tostes, the Chief Operating Officer of the 2016 Rio Olympic Committee. The Rio Olympic committee is in charge of planning and executing the games logistically within the city.

The anticipation of the Olympics in any city is always exciting; although, the excitement can also bring questions: Will the city host a successful Olympic games? Will the 2016 games be better than the 2012 Olympics in London? How will the city infrastructure stand against the influx of tourists? And finally, what will be the lasting impact of the games once they are completed? After spending two days traveling around the city of Rio and seeing what would be future venues for some of the events, the group was eager and determined to know the answers to these pertinent questions and many more. Luckily, we were met with an educational and interactive presentation.

IMG_20151015_114328979Mr. Tostes’ presentation was unique from the get-go, as he wanted to hear our questions and concerns before giving his formal presentation. Students took turns asking questions about topics surrounding Olympic preparations, legacy of the games and population concerns. Mr. Tostes was open with his answers, and projected a positive tone to the outlook of the Olympics from the Rio Olympic Committee. For some, this may have been a surprise as recent news reports and reactions from locals have not been of the same nature.

Mr. Tostes touched on three themes consistently throughout his presentation: development, culture, and fun. Development from the Olympic games is arguably the most controversial aspect as that is where the local controversy stems surrounding the Rio games. Mr. Tostes emphasized that the development and legacy will be a positive one. Traveling around the city, one can see the construction happening and the Rio Olympic committee says there is already an upgrade in infrastructure that should have occurred five years ago.

In addition, there will be a lasting boost to city pride and community unity from the games. Culture is a huge part of the Brazilian way of life and it is definitely unique and exciting, but it does not come without its quirks. Brazilians are not known for their punctuality, which was made clear to us before our arrivals and something we have witnessed first hand attempting to get “a conta, por favor” (the check, please) at a local restaurant. Although it may seem trivial when speaking about a meal, the punctuality or efficiency to get things done before the August 5, 2016 Opening Ceremonies is a real concern for the rest of the world. Rio is still very much in the middle of construction, attempting water purifications and transportation organization among other tasks for the games. Seeing it first hand in the last couple days does make one wonder if it will all be accomplished in time. Mr. Tostes fully acknowledged that punctuality may not be a priority for Brazilians in everyday life, but regarding the Olympics they will be ready. He stated that, “the Brazilian way does not mean less organization, it means more fun, but it will maintain the Brazilian spirit”. A good point was made that forcing the preparation committee in Rio to do it any other way than the Brazilian way would be a waste of time and very inefficient. It is also in Brazilian culture to have fun and celebrate, and those two aspects have kept the committee motivated and positive and according to them preparations are on track.

Clean, fit and fun is the internal message of the Rio games and the Rio Olympic Committee. Brazil, along with South America in general, is a place that is not necessarily well known; so in a way the games are an introduction and a way for people to become more familiar with this part of the world. Mr. Tortes, the Rio Olympic Committee and Rio are all proud to be Brazilian and are confident that they will put on a fantastic games. Speculations and doubts will continue to be made, but here in Rio that pride and the Brazilian way is something that will be emphasized in the last 10 months of preparations and will be carried through the 16 days of games next year.

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Oct 15 2015

Brazil 2015: Day 2 (10/14/2015) – A Unique Experience at Sugarloaf Mountain

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By: Chao Bai

Today’s weather was not ideal, but quite remarkable. Our group went to one of the most famous places in Brazil, Sugarloaf Mountain. Sugarloaf Mountain is an important landmark of Rio de Janeiro. It is constantly compared to Christ the Redeemer which we will visit on Monday. Brazilians believed that Sugarloaf Mountain brought them plentiful products and Christ the Redeemer provides them with mental health.

3The height of Sugarloaf Mountain is 396 meters. The local people told us we would be able to get a great view from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain and we would be able to see Christ the Redeemer, Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, and Copacabana Beach. There are two stops in climbing this mountain. The first cable car stop is the top of Morro da Urca, with the second stop being Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf).


We arrived to Sugarloaf Mountain in the early afternoon following our meeting with Octagon Brazil. Unfortunately, it had become extremely cloudy above the mountain.  After receiving our tickets, we hopped on the first cable car which took us to the top of Morro da Urca. There were some small stores with many chairs where you could buy drinks or Ice-cream. The wind was nice and cool. On our left was Copacabana Beach, where we could find many white sailboats and yachts, and to the right was the beautiful ocean. We took several pictures there and headed to the next lift.

1After a short wait, we finally got the top of Sugarloaf, It was so cloudy at the top of Sugarloaf, we couldn’t see anything around us besides the cloud we were standing in. Regardless, we still made the most of our trip to the top and had a great time as a group.

5Because of the view restriction, we all wanted to go back down to the top of Morro da Urca. Jillian was not the biggest fan of heights and had to close her eyes when taking the lift back down. Her expression was so cute which made me have to stop and take a photo. We spent another half an hour on the top of Morro da Urca and the landscape was so beautiful that no one wanted to leave.

Eventually, we had to leave to head back to our hotel, but we all enjoyed the time there and I wish I can come back again in the future.

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Oct 14 2015

Brazil 2015: Day 2 (10/14/2015) – Octagon Brazil: Aykan Azar on Passion, Engagement, Results

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By: Jillian Magnotta

Day two of our trip to Rio consisted of an all you can eat breakfast buffet paired with delicious Brazilian coffee and exotic fruits. SIM students had a good nights rest and were ready to head to Octagon Brazil.

Outside OctagonThis morning we met with the Co-Managing Director of Octagon Brazil, Aykan Azar. He gave a very in depth, impressive presentation on the importance of three words: passion, engagement and results. He explained to us that passion isn’t only your love for sports or a particular organization, it’s also about the people you work with and the consumer/fan you are working for. He continued on by saying that you have to engage fans in a meaningful way and if you do not do this successfully, you will not get the results you want.

Since the World Cup was just held in Rio in 2014, Mr. Azar had a lot of information about the preparation and event management that goes into holding an event as large as this. He made it very clear that it’s not always going to be glamorous. There will be a few challenges along the way. However, there were many successes as well. For one, Mr. Azar is from Germany and they won the World Cup so that in and of itself was a plus. Second, the transportation worked tremendously; therefore people did not have to wait in the airport for their flights. Along with that, buses were there to transport to and from the stadiums. And lastly, Octagon was responsible for nine different major sponsorship partners for the 2014 World Cup, which was the largest and most impactful agency involvement in the history of the tournament. These sponsorships include Budweiser, Itau and Johnson & Johnson.

IMG_20151014_100119321With all the success from the World Cup, Octagon Brazil and Mr. Azar are ready for the challenge of the 2016 Olympics. Octagon is a worldwide sport and entertainment marketing company that have become pioneers in the sport industry since the 1980’s. They are located on six different continents, 22 countries and have 68 offices and 800 employees. Their key service offerings include sport marketing consulting, which is the bread and butter of the company, athletes and personalities, research and measurement, promotions and activations, tickets and hospitality and events, such as the 2016 Olympics. All six of these services make the company diverse and ever changing.

Each SIM student left the meeting today feeling inspired and excited about what lies ahead of us in the sport-marketing field.


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Oct 14 2015

Brazil 2015: Day 1 (10/13/2015) – NBA Brazil

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By Nick Booth:

Our cramped overnight flight from Atlanta landed safely in cloudy Rio de Janeiro just after 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, in what can only be described as a sleep-deprivation exercise. Every SIM student was excited to begin exploring the city after a day full of airports, endless waiting, and Chick Fil A.
coconut watersRio is quite unlike any other city on the planet. With its gorgeous beaches, towering mountains and tropical climate, Rio must be seen in person to believe. After a quick introductory meeting at the hotel, professor Jimmy Lynn led SIM students on a walk along Ipanema beach (complete with coconut water from real coconuts) and along Rio’s tree-filled streets to the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, a picturesque lagoon carefully watched over by Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado Mountain.

After splitting up for lunch and getting some much-needed rest, SIM students had the pleasure of meeting with NBA Brazil’s Managing Director, Arnon de Mello. This is the biggest week of the year for him, as the NBA Global Game between the Orlando Magic and Flamengo is taking place this coming Saturday. In addition to putting on the biggest basketball game in Brazil, Rio will be hosting numerous basketball executives and big-time partners and activation events this weekend.

His talk began with an overview of Brazilian basketball. The NBA has only kept a permanent office in Brazil since 2012, and the country’s interest in basketball has waxed and waned over the years. Basketball is arguably Brazil’s second favorite sport, recently overtaking mixed martial arts according to Arnon. Brazil will have nine players on an NBA roster this season, the most the country has ever had. NBA Brazil also reached a deal in 2014 with the top Brazilian league (NBB) and has taken over much of the league’s marketing, advertising and licensing duties to further the development of basketball in Brazil.

Arnon de Mello - Brazil 2015The difficulty with promoting basketball in Brazil is that soccer is far and away the number one sport. NBA Brazil does great outreach work in the favelas, but with the recent economic downturn, programs have to be scaled back. One of the biggest issues is the lack of quality arenas, and Mr. de Mello says building stadiums is not high on the priority list as of now. He is more focused on building the game in Brazil from the ground up, growing the fan base, and inking partnership and licensing deals.

Arnon ‘s visit was a great way to start off the trip. The 2016 Olympics are going to be a big test for Brazilian basketball and for the development of the game in the future. Rio’s Olympic games have not garnered many positive headlines in the past few years, but in Arnon de Mello they have a strong and knowledgeable leader, a rarity in the Brazilian landscape and global sports as a whole. It was an honor for the SIM students to hear him speak.

We were also lucky to be graced by the presence of Georgetown alum and Rio resident, Ky Adderley. He gave students an idea of what it is like to live in Brazil, both positive and negative. If you think waiting in line at the DMV is bad, don’t let Ky tell you the story of how long it took for his daughter to obtain a Brazilian passport. You do not want to know.

Looking forward to tomorrow, SIM students will be traveling to Octagon Brazil headquarters, visiting Sugarloaf Mountain, and eating dinner at the renowned Brazilian steakhouse, Porcao. Stay tuned for more shenanigans.

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Oct 13 2015

Brazil 2015: Day 1 (10/13/2015) – An Exciting Week Ahead in Rio!

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By: Henry Opotowsky

Another brilliant trip to sport’s hottest market has been organized and planned for 16 lucky students by Georgetown’s Sports Industry Management Program. This year’s version of the retreat comes at a particularly intriguing time: Rio will play host to the 2016 Olympics next August, while the nation is caught-up in political unrest resulting, in part, from a lingering World Cup hangover. Presently, there are a number of social and economic issues within the country, many of which can be traced back to the organizing of the two largest sporting events in the world that will take place just 25 months apart from one another. As a group, we plan on getting to the heart of these issues through a series of meetings with some of Brazil’s most significant sporting associations.

12091168_10156066618670364_8750170857132264910_oNBA Brazil, Octagon Sports, the Rio Olympics Committee, the Confederation of Brazilian Football and FGV Business School are some of the magnificent organizations we are meeting with this week. In addition to the business meetings, we have many “on-the-side” activities planned for the upcoming week including two athletic events: an NBA preseason game between the Orlando Magic and Rio’s own Flamengo, and a football match at the one of the sport’s great venues, the famed Maracana. And of course, a trip to Rio would be incomplete without making stops at Sugarloaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer and some of the city’s famous beaches.

Each of us has our own individual mindsets and expectations of the upcoming trip. Some look at this as a chance to get their foot in the door for future employment opportunities, while others are here to explore Brazil’s culture, current sports landscape, and – of course – wonderful scenery. Personally, I’m looking to find a nice balance between the two!

Tonight’s meeting with Arnon de Mello is sure to be one of the highlights of the trip. De Mello is the Managing Director of NBA Brazil. He is tasked with expanding the NBA’s brand beyond the borders of the United States and into one of Basketball’s trendiest overseas markets. De Mello has a background in finance and was recently appointed to his current position in 2013. It will be interesting to hear his story and learn how he got into sports without ever being an athlete.

This week happens to be De Mello’s busiest of the year. He is tasked with organizing the biggest basketball event in Brazil this year: the preseason game between the Orlando Magic and Flamengo on Saturday, the 17th. Being able to meet with him during such an important time for the NBA in Brazil is a very unique opportunity that we will certainly cherish.

The meeting with De Mello tonight will definitely get the ball rolling for an exciting week ahead for the Brazil Emersion crew here in Rio!


No responses yet Tags: Rio 2016

Oct 16 2014

Brazil 2014: Day 8 (10/13/2014)- The Brazilian Way of Life

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By: Symone Kidd

Music and dance are important parts of the Brazilian identity and culture. The carioca’s, Brazilian locals, definitely love their samba/salsa music, which was something we were able to witness first hand throughout the city of Rio especially in Lapa at Rio Scenarium. Lapa, a neighborhood in between Ipanema and Copacabana Beach is known for its many bars, restaurants and clubs/live music venues. With three floors and two stages Rio Scenarium is one of those venues and is a place I personally will never forget because of the live music, dancing, great atmosphere and vintage décor.

Singer Dhi Ribeiro performed on the first floor main stage along with Leo Benon (cavaquinho), Marcio Bezerra (woodwinds), Felix (7 string guitar), Manga Batera (drums) and Emanuel dos Santos (bass). With views of the main stage from the second and third floors people everywhere danced to the various samba songs and sang along to lyrics as if they were at a concert. On the second floor there was a second stage with three performers that played a style of samba that had a funk feel to it. Also on the second floor was a balcony that looks out onto the people that fill the bars and restaurants that line the street enjoying their meals, cocktails and all of the music. Monica, one of our AustraGroup guides from San Paulo, gave some students a quick samba lesson, which they pulled off greatly in the club allowing them to really fit in and have a good time. Even though some believed they couldn’t get the dance moves down, when the music came on we all were able to partake in this vital aspect of Brazilian culture. Although it was everyone’s first time at a samba club it truly was a great experience because everyone was able to dance and appreciate the music the Brazilian “carioca” way.

Another part of Brazilian culture we were able to experience was the Ipanema Hippie Fair that is held every Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm. The Hippie Fair is a great place to find authentic Brazilian art, jewelry, clothing and more! With numerous tents and tables set up this is a great place to bargain for gifts and souvenirs. Many people don’t speak English in Rio however it wasn’t a challenge to communicate with the vendors. I bought several things at the Hippie Fair and even met a very talented artist, Pedro Paulo de Jesus who I bought a very unique Brazilian flag painting from. With my purchase he gave me a business card and a paper in both English and Portuguese that explained his background and accomplishments.

Despite verbal communication barriers something’s that were always understood and shared between the American and Brazilian cultures were being able to feel and move to the soulful sounds of samba music, appreciation for the arts and crafts, and the excitement and entertainment of sports.

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Oct 14 2014

Brazil 2014: Day 8 (10/13/2014)- A Dear Place in My Heart

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By: Charrelle Ragin

Wow, what an experience in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! After returning to the states from Rio de Janeiro this morning, vivid images of the people are still running rampant through my mind. I’ve seen many pictures, and heard many stories surrounding the people of Brazil, but nothing could have prepared me for this amazing 7 day journey. After only a few hours in Brazil, it was obvious the locals were beautiful, vibrant, and full of energy; selling local goods on the streets, taking strolls on the beach, riding bikes, surfing, playing futbol, and/or working ….everyone seemed at peace and HAPPY! After 7 days in what I would deem “paradise”, it is easy to see why people are always smiling.

IMG_8166However, the children of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hands down stole the show! I experienced one of the best moments of not only the trip but of my life during our visit to Sugarloaf Mountain; 6 young Brazilian girls (ages 12-14) caught me by surprise when they ran up to me screaming “BEAUTIFUL”! I was in a state of shock, and utter confusion because I couldn’t figure out why these lovely young ladies were so excited to see me (they were speaking in Portuguese); they stood in front of me with huge smiles, and continued to scream out “beautiful”. The young girls would politely ask me to take pictures (by using hand gestures with their phones); one by one they smiled as we posed for photos together… I then grabbed my phone, and asked Professor Lynn to also take a group picture of me and the girls. After all the initial excitement, the girls then taught me how to SAMBA (Brazilian dance); let’s just say I couldn’t keep up with their dance moves! Afterwards, Professor Lynn would interact with the young ladies; teaching them English, encouraging them to continue their education, and ultimately giving them a speech on how education could also lead them to Georgetown! My classmates looked on taking pictures and videos; many have called the experience with those 6 young girls at Sugarloaf their favorite moment on the trip. Although, those young girls think I made their day ….little do they know they made an everlasting impact on our entire group by touching us with their beautiful souls! October 8, 2014 will forever hold a dear place in my heart.

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Oct 14 2014

Brazil 2014: Day 7 (10/12/2014)- Christ the Redeemer

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By: William Vargas

Christ the Redeemer is arguably one of the most iconic images in the world, and is always visible while in the city. I will begin with the history of the statue which is now categorized as one of the 7 modern Wonders of the World. However, before I do this I would like to say obrigado (thank you) to our tour guide Marcello. Marcello was a walking, talking, fact giving, carioca (Brazilians term for, Rio natives), whom never failed to give us insight to every detail of the city. I thank Marcello because, he made the history part of this blog easy.

As we all walk onto our bus we see Marcello. He was wearing his usual light blue and white plaid shirt, khaki pants, and his habitual slightly crooked smile. We sit down, recline our seats, and wait for Marcello to give us the history of Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer). Cristo Redntor sits atop The Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Forest Nation Park. The statue is 30 meters high, 20 meters long and celebrated its 83rd birthday on October 12th. The original idea to build a structure atop Corcovado was proposed by an Italian priest, in 1855. However, it wasn’t until 1920 when, the Catholic Church reintroduced the idea that the planning for the structure began. Rio decided to have an open competition to decide on what the structure should be. The winning design was submitted by a local engineer by the name of, Heitor da Silva. After a few details were changed to the design the construction of this now iconic statue began in 1926 and was completed on October 12th 1931. After Marcello gave us a brief history of the statue, it was time step outside and board a train to the top of the mountain.

The train consists of two red train car, which hold about 30 people each, and both resemble an American trolley car. The train cuts directly through the Tijuca Forest and was originally designed by Brazilian emperor Peter II, in 1855. Initially, the cars were pulled up by animals but, as technology advanced so did the train. Again, obrigado Marcello. The views from the train were spectacular but, they were nothing when held in comparison to the view from top of the mountain. Once arriving, we climbed a few flights of stairs and I myself was humbled. Neither words, nor pictures, are able to correctly portray the feeling one has when looking down on Rio, with Cristo Redntor looking over your shoulder. We all took our touristy photos and a few of us said a prayer in the chapel situated under the statue. One bible verse that came to my mind was Corinthians 13:13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But, the greatest of these is love.” Love, is the only way to accurately describe Rio, its people, and their culture. Carioca’s love food, music, dance and of course football. They are the kindest and most loving people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Not once was I greeted with anything but a smile and a thumbs up. Even the language barrier did not stop them from treating us all as if we were one of their own. I am sad to be typing this blog from home and I just want to say Rio; I love you, I will be back, and from all of us OBRIGADO!

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Oct 14 2014

Brazil 2014: Day 6 (10/11/2014)- “Vence! Vence! Uma Vez Mais! Flamengo!!!”

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By: Tyson Claure

It’s Sunday and the beach is abuzz this morning. The entire city of Rio de Janeiro is building in anticipation. It’s game day. You can’t walk 100 feet without seeing someone in a shirt or jersey with the famous red and black horizontal stripes. These are the colors of the most popular football club in Brazil, Clube de Regattas Flamengo, known by fans around the world simply as Flamengo. One of the few football clubs to win a World Championship built on a mountain of domestic conquests.

Their home stadium is one of the most famous in the world, Maracana, the showcase venue of the recently completed 2014 FIFA World Cup. Today, our group has the privilege of attending this storied ground. Today, Flamengo (currently in 12th of 20 clubs in the top flight) plays 1st place Cruzeiro. Today, a victory could propel Flamengo up the standings while a loss would widen the gap at the top for Cruzeiro. Today, it’s serious for Flamengo supporters.

As we approach this monstrous stadium that originally had a capacity of 200,000, it is surrounded by red and black movement as far as the eye can see. Maracana has been renovated and downsized to a luxurious 75,000 that will be a little over half full for this match. If you happen to see a small group of fans in Cruzeiro blue they quickly become invisible and mute. Coordinated songs and chants begin with the intention of silencing the opposition and inspiring the players during the match.

We arrive an hour before the match so that Dean Goldwater can provide insight and a brief analysis of the facility to us as we tour the concourse. They do things very differently on game day in Brazil. There are no sponsored tailgates, no corporate signage on the arena facade, no ads along the ramps and concourse, and team merchandise is very hard to find. In my best Portuguese, which I’m told is pretty good, I find a team store hidden away on a lower level that requires me to get clearance from security to leave my concourse then return.

As kickoff approaches, the players appear from the tunnel with a loud roar of acknowledgement from the fans. The National Anthem of Brazil begins and we are the only ones that do not know the words and cannot join in the singing. It’s an impressive sight you may remember from watching Brazil play during the World Cup. At kickoff the field temperature must be at least 100 degrees. Instantly, the most passionate fans seated behind the goal begin to sing:


Which means:


This is the first of many different songs we hear during the match. From a distance, it looks like a sea of black and red during a storm. Bouncing, synchronized arm movements, flags waving side to side, and bass drums thumping like thunder. The energy and coordination is something we will always remember and sets a new standard for fan support we will always compare American sports to. As play continues, a Flamengo player is fouled just outside the box. Most believe it is a penalty but it is not awarded.

Silence is now followed by anxious anticipation.  The crowd begins a mesmerizing chant of “MEN-GOOOOOO!” carrying the “O” for 3 seconds while the players size up the opportunity.  “MEN-GOOOOOO!”  They’ve decided who to take the free kick.  “MEN-GOOOOO!”  The kick is away, just over the crossbar!  A seismic groan immerses from the arena.

IMG_2998Then it happens. In the 16th minute, Flamengo steals the ball in their defensive third of the field and orchestrates a brilliant counter attack that leads to the 1st goal of the match! GOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!! The crowd erupts, flags wave tirelessly, and Flamengo is beginning to establish control. As the match continues Cruzeiro begin to show deficiencies in their attack and midfield leaving their back line exposed to an explosive transition game by Flamengo.

In the second half the opportunities continue and Flamengo scores a second. Now the crowd is REALLY excited. Everybody in the stadium sings the same song and start bouncing, including some of us. The atmosphere is now electric. Four minutes later they follow up with a third goal. It’s pandemonium! As the match reaches the last fifteen minutes Flamengo have emphatically established their dominance with two brilliant second half goals from transition play.

Now they are just playing keep away and toying with the team at the top of the league standings.  With every completed pass the crowd chants “OLÉ!” Flamengo are the bullfighter, Cruzeiro the doomed bull, and the ball is the tantalizing red cape the bull is desperately chasing, hoping to impale. We chant “OLÉ!” at least fifteen times. The bull is tired. The bullfighter unsheathes his sword. The match is over.


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