Hosting a major international sporting event is challenging, especially for a developing country such as Brazil. But it’s far more than a challenge—it’s also an opportunity for infrastructure transformation.
In 2014, an estimated 500,000 soccer fans from all over the globe will descend on Brazil to attend the world’s largest soccer event. Over the four weeks of the soccer tournament, fans will stay in hotels, eat in restaurants, shop and visit Brazil’s many attractions. Most importantly, they will attend soccer matches and move between the 12 Brazilian host cities.
Hosting a major international sporting event is challenging, especially for a developing country such as Brazil. But it’s far more than a challenge—it’s also an opportunity for infrastructure transformation. PwC Partner Mauricio Girardello noted, “This is a major event that can change the face of multiple host cities, not just one. For decades after the fans have gone home, cities will benefit from the nationwide surge of investments in urban mobility, facilities and more.”
Upon being selected in 2007 to host the world’s largest soccer event, Brazil’s federal government, cities and business leaders realized that smart planning would make the event successful and leave host cities with a more advanced infrastructure. They wondered what steps Brazil should take to proactively ready its infrastructure, and which cities were best suited to host matches.
The Brazilian Association of Infrastructure and Basic Industry (Abdib), the Brazilian Federal Ministry of Sports and the Brazilian Football Association all wanted to get an accurate picture of the infrastructure situation in the 18 cities vying to host matches. With Abdib sponsoring the initiative, they decided to tap outside help to perform a gap analysis of the infrastructure in each of the 18 cities. A number of advisory firms responded to the call for proposals, but the submission from PwC attracted their attention for two reasons.
Girardello explained, “First, our methodology stood out. Our proposal was built around evaluating the current state of what we called infrastructure dimensions for each city.” The model, he said, provided clarity by allowing different factors, such as urban mobility and airports, to be viewed as dimensions of the whole situation, making it easier to understand where investments could make the most significant overall impact.
PwC was also able to demonstrate how the firm would develop clear and actionable targets based on past major sporting events in other countries, and on local factors, such as the expected appeal of individual cities to visitors.
“Abdib liked our methodology,” said Girardello, “but our proposal also caught their attention because of surprise—they didn’t know PwC had deep infrastructure knowledge and a long history of supporting other international sporting events." Abdid chose PwC.
To perform the gap analysis, PwC brought together a diverse team that included people with backgrounds in data analysis, engineering and accounting. The team traveled to the cities to assess their current infrastructure, talk to civic leaders and review any current infrastructure-related initiatives. Then, using dimensions and targets to ground its findings, the team developed a detailed report assessing infrastructure gaps. In one instance, the team evaluated the requirements to support a new stadium for use beyond the immediate games. This required that the city evaluate and think long term in regards to access roads, parking lots, subways, trams, monorails and retail shopping facilities.
In choosing the host cities, decision-makers in Brazil referred to the gap analysis. However, after the 12 host cities had been chosen, the gap analysis proved even more useful. Brazil’s government is now using it to prioritize transformational investments across dimensions, such as energy, healthcare, security, sanitation, transportation, seaports, airports and telecommunications. Plus, the governments of several host cities are using the report to help plan enhancements, especially to local transportation infrastructure.
The city of Manaus’s experience illustrates how the gap analysis led to concrete action. The report highlighted Manaus’s need to take a more comprehensive approach to mass transit. Inspired to get ready for the event and to help residents move more freely, Manaus chose to undertake one of Brazil’s most ambitious urban mobility projects to date. The city engaged PwC to help plan the undertaking.
“Mass transit is one of the key challenges for host cities,” Girardello said. “Manaus is confronting the challenge aggressively.”
Working closely with the city, PwC prepared feasibility studies for a new monorail system and is currently helping the city to solicit bids from contractors to build it. When completed, the monorail system is expected to be a great benefit to fans attending the soccer tournament and to the people and businesses of Manaus. Girardello reflects the client’s enthusiasm over this undertaking. He said, “It’s a perfect example of how a major event can motivate smart long-term infrastructure investments.”
PwC’s involvement didn’t stop there. Beyond the gap analysis, several candidate host cities realized they needed assistance in planning new stadiums and enhancing existing facilities. Three of those cities, Belém, Goiânia and Natal, turned to the firm for help. For instance, it was clear to Natal that its current stadium would not meet the soccer event organizer’s requirements for capacity, comfort, security and media support.
PwC worked with the city to plan a facility that met the requirements. The firm also formulated specifications for the new stadium to ensure it would support a wide variety of events, such as concerts.
“When building a facility for one event, you need to balance the demands of a limited use with other uses that will make the facility more financially viable over the long term,” Girardello explained. “Natal has found an excellent balance. We anticipate that its planned 45,000-seat stadium will provide an outstanding venue for soccer matches, other sporting events and concerts.”
With the world’s largest soccer event just four years away, Brazil’s host cities are using the insights gained from the gap analysis and working directly with PwC to prepare their infrastructure for visitors. So when fans cheer the first goal of the tournament in June of 2014, they will have more than just the excitement on the field to keep them engaged. They’ll also have access to better infrastructure to support a world-class experience. And the people of Brazil will benefit from that infrastructure long into the future.