By Robbie Blakeley, Contributing Sports Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – While some World Cup host cities struggle to meet deadlines imposed by president Dilma Rousseff, Rio’s own Maracanã Stadium is right on schedule. But while the building and modernization work remains on track, the costs have accelerated by almost 40 percent in just eight months to almost R$1 billion.

Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, brazil, News
Renovations on Rio's Maracana are close to the R$1 billion mark, photo by Peter Main/Wikimedia Creative Commons License

Initially projected at R$705 million last year, it is now estimated the final bill will come to around R$957 million for the stadium that will host the 2014 World Cup final as constant additions and readjustments are made.

The completed soccer arena will include four new access passages, broadened to allow more people to exit the stadium at one time with the intention that it will take everyone just eight minutes to be back out on the street after a match.

If this proves to be the case, it will be a vast improvement; before, if the stadium was sold-out or close to full capacity, it could take up to half an hour for 80,000 fans to leave.

In contrast to the old stadium, where for some supporters the players looked like miniature dolls, the front rows of seats will be just twelve meters from the playing field. The updated project was presented last week in Brasilia to the Tribunal de Contas da União (TCU), who will analyses the updates in the next 45 days.

In total, the stadium will be able to hold 78,639 fans. To increase safety, there will also be 314 CCTV cameras and 360 television monitors. Despite costs escalating at such an alarming rate, Luiz Fernando Pezão, vice governor of Rio de Janeiro, guaranteed the R$1 billion mark would not be exceeded.

Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, brazil, News
A projected view inside the new Maracana, photo by the LOC (Local Organizing Committee)

“The price will not surpass R$1 billion. We are still trying to lower it a little. We are negotiating with a lot of people on this quotation,” Pezão said. The deputy also guaranteed that all work would be finished by December 2012 while boldly claiming the Maracanã will be better than Wembley, London’s famous football stadium, at a fraction of the cost.

Jose Carlos Rocha, a Carioca, is delighted the Maracana will be modernized. “The Maracana will soon be one of the best stadiums in the world. Alongside the Bombonera (in Buenos Aires), the Camp Nou (in Barcelona) and Wembey, these are the four most famous stadiums and deserve to be recognized.”

For Cariocas and tourists alike, the Maracana is an icon of the city, just as much as Pao d’Acucar (Sugarloaf) and Cristo Redemptor (Christ the Redeemer). It is a shrine to world football, having already hosted one World Cup final previously; the infamous defeat Brazil suffered at the hands of Uruguay in 1950.

While Rio’s project remains on track, problems in other cities, especially Sao Paulo continue to rumble on. Having finalized plans for the construction of a new stadium, to be called the Fielzao and situated in the West Zone of the city, work will not start this week as planned. Corinthians, who will use the stadium after the World Cup, posted a message on their official website saying work would begin “soon”.


  1. The Maracanã certainly needs redeveloping for the reasons mentioned in the article but, if extortionate ticket prices exclude the people who create its unique atmosphere, going to football in Brazil is likely become a much more sanitised Premier League-style experience.

  2. In Montreal, Quebec Canada, the good citizens are still paying off an Olympic stadium. It is a sad expenditure because it has cost a great deal to maintain it since it was built in 1976. Building monuments is an expensive thing. But they will be built on time.

  3. Shame is an old stadium costing a billion REAL in the pocket of the working people, it was better to build three new states in Rio for a billion. World Cup and Olympics turned governates why rob the people and businesses.

  4. Honestly, shame on us! I’m Brazilian and have to watch these corrupted exhibitions every day since an idiot decided to have this world cup here! Rather… Since people decided to close eyes and just let it go, just the way corrupt politic people and business want, keeping people watching fut-ball and novels! We’re in development, we’re not developed yet, we have a corruption based economy here. There are lots of lots of citizens there paining these expenses that should have being applied on them. But it isn’t, why? It’s easy to convince many of Brazilians that we’re still the country of fut-ball soccer and that we don’t have other subjects to care about. We have brilliant people here, but theirs shine is obfuscated by those who want do destroy the good image of our nation! Rather… Shame on them!

  5. This is a huge waste of money, why do you think Brazilians are protesting, the government is wasting R$1 billion on a stadium instead of protectiong its citizens


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