Newser: Turco Comments on Stadium Costs ahead of World Cup in Brazil

June 28, 2013

In Paul Newberry’s column, “Protests in Brazil should send us all into the streets over outrageous stadium costs,” Arcadia University’s Dr. Douglas Turco commented on the excessive expenditures.

“When people offer the counterpoint that we could be investing in other things instead of sports, well, oftentimes those others things aren’t as alluring and don’t have the same magnetism as sports does,” Turco said. “You’ve got tens of thousands of people who are willing to spend almost anything to support their team and identify with their team. ... That’s what they’re called fanatics. They do not behave rationally. Economists have tried to understand sports consumers’ behavior for years. Inevitably, they just scratch their heads and say, ‘Why do they do this?’”

Now, along comes Brazil to offer a different perspective.

While the initial protests were sparked by a hike in bus and subway fares, the movement quickly mushroomed to cover a wide range of grievances, including the massive amounts of money earmarked for the world’s two biggest sporting events.

Next summer, that country will put on the World Cup, a monthlong, 32-nation tournament to crown the champion of soccer. In 2016, Rio de Janeiro will become the first South American city to the host the Olympics. The combined bill for those two events will likely exceed $30 billion, covering projects such as the $500 million renovation of Rio’s main stadium, Maracana, even though it already received a significant face-lift before the 2007 Pan American Games.

Turco, associate academic dean in The College of Global Studies, has written dozens of articles and several books on sport tourism, sport and event marketing, and the economic impact of mega-sporting events. Read the article.

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