By Robbie Blakeley, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Work is set to begin on what will be the crowning glory of the renovated Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro. A brand new “grandstand,” similar to that seen at the Estadio Bernabéu in Madrid, will be the largest feature of the updated stadium and in compliance with FIFA’s “visibility requirements.”

Maracanã stadium
An artist's impression of the renovated Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro, photo by skyscrapercity.

The new stand will hold over a third of the ground’s attendance capacity and will be raised higher than the rest of the seats to give fans a privileged view. The tickets for this part of the ground will be the most expensive.

The building work is now fully underway, but the concrete mixers have not deterred ardent football (soccer) fans from making the pilgrimage to one of the game’s iconic landmarks.

Sports Secretary Marcia Lins has opted not to close the stadium to visitors while work takes place, enabling people to get a first-hand look at how the stadium is being pieced together.

In the last year, over 180,000 people have visited the arena, however the last month access has been limited. With the grandstand being put in place, entry to the changing rooms, graced by so many legends of the game, has been cut off. Now visitors are restricted to walking around the stadium and the demolished old stands.

With demolition of the lower tier complete, work on the upper tier can now begin, photo released by the LOC.

Swiss tourist Andreas Kind told Brazilian daily O Globo: “I wanted to walk from the dressing room to the goal on the pitch. But now most of the stadium is gone. It’s too bad.”

Destruction of the inner circle of seats, namely those on the lower tier, was concluded this week as the LOC (Local Organizing Committee), for the 2014 World Cup released the latest photos of the Maracanã renovation project to Rio’s press.

The work is making sure and steady progress. According to the LOC timetable, the development is still scheduled to be finished by the end of 2012, ready for use in the Campeanato Carioca, which kicks off in January 2013. Already the stage of one World Cup final in 1950, the stadium is set to receive the honor for a second time, as Brazil’s centerpiece for 2014.

The field needs a splash of water before the final in 2014, photo released by the LOC.

The World Cup Final is not the sole reason that Maracanã is being refurbished. Just two short years after hosting the final of sport’s biggest competition, the new stadium will be the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies of sport’s oldest competition – the 2016 Olympic Games.

Meanwhile, the next stage on the Olympic journey is promoting the official 2016 logo. The design, chosen from a shortlist of eight, will be unveiled for the first time in a few days at the city’s New Year celebrations at Copacabana. Around two million people are expected to attend.

Carlos Nuzman, organizing president of Rio 2016, said: “The preferred design has been sent to the International Olympic Committee for approval. We’re sure everyone will like it.”


  1. Folha de Sao Paulo today claimed that Rio’s progress with Maracana is ‘worrying’ (i.e. way behind schedule)… while Sao Paulo’s progress is ‘serious’ (i.e. the new stadium plans haven’t even been finalized).

    Not surprisingly, the most organized city is Belo Horizonte and their progress with Mineirao (people from Minas tend to be really on point and organized).

  2. Well, organization or not, the Brazilians are taking stadium model from England and Holland while German ones have a lot more to do with Brazil.

    In Maracanã I read they are diminishing the field, modifying the round shape and making it look completely different. Also reducing capacity to augment VIP sections.

    Well that may be beautiful in England and Holland but in Brazil ,where poverty and Football passion are one as big as the other, the German model with sections where seating isn’t mandatory (with retractable seats for international FiFA ruling games), huge capacity and popular prices would be on the interest of the true Brazilian fans that used to go to Maracanã’s GERAL lower section, Some very funny fellas, the spirit of Maracanã, Rio, and Brazil fans. This is Maracanã we’re talking about. The most classic stadium in the world still standing. And Germany with such model has the highest attendance rates in the world. Brazil should look more into that and give up the ARENA model.

  3. That’s true about the pricing – if the ‘geral’ section is gone, then what will be the cheapest tickets available for Brazilian league matches..? And i don’t even want to know how much the tickets will be for the World Cup – in the hundreds, not doubt – and totally unattainable for the majority of Cariocas. Although i’m sure that Sergio Cabral will be on hand (complete with media entourage) to give a few tickets away (like 10) to some favela kids from Complexo Alemao…

    The other concern is the cost of this renovation. Last i heard, the cost was something like R$700 million. Is that correct..? It’s a crazy amount of money. Especially when you consider that the cost of building Engenhao from scratch, was like R$300 million.


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