Sixty percent of Brazilians now think hosting the Cup is bad for Brazil, according to a recent poll, and thousands have marched nationwide carrying banners telling FIFA to “go home.”
Brazil may have exploded with street parties as its team won the opening game on Thursday but scattered violent protests were a reminder that many locals remain angry over the cost of the tournament.
One source working at a leading World Cup sponsor said the firm had been forced to change its marketing strategy in response to public negativity surrounding this year’s event.
However, Andrew Sneyd, an executive at World Cup sponsor Budweiser responsible for marketing, was more upbeat on Brazil, saying it was Budweiser’s largest campaign to date and no adjustments had been made in response to local opposition.
CHANGE NOT EASY
Changing the way these events are structured is not easy.
In countries other than the most advanced soccer economies like Britain or Germany, stadiums have to be built and infrastructure improved to put on events like the World Cup.
The challenge is how to make them less ambitious and less controversial without excluding developing nations who almost always need to invest heavily to get venues up to standard.
A different FIFA source said there was a growing awareness of the social and economic responsibility that came with putting on the World Cup but that the bidding process remained one of faith – you have to trust the country chosen will deliver on its promises.
Still, the tide seems to be turning because of growing popular resistance to huge spending on sporting events.
For Maennig the answer lies in bids that are more collaborative with the local population.
“I am pushing my home city Berlin to have a completely different Olympic bid (for 2024) by asking residents to participate in an Olympic concept they would be in favor of,” he said. (Reuters)