The Real Cost of the 2014 World Cup

We all know that hosting an international sporting event is a very costly endeavour for any city that is selected. Between the bidding process, construction and other miscellaneous costs, hosting a major event such as the World Cup and the Olympics is a huge burden on taxpayers. This is a well known fact and a major reason why many oppose their city/country playing host to one of these events. What isn’t well known is the “other”, more human costs involved in hosting a major event that are currently being seen in Brazil in preparation for both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

Earlier this week, a crane collapsed in Sao Paulo, killing two construction workers and damaging part of the already behind schedule stadium (The Economist, 2013). Add on to the fact that 6 other stadiums slated for games in the World Cup are very behind schedule, construction efforts will speed up meaning the risk for more injured workers will increase.

This latest tragedy is in addition to the well documented displacement of many people’s homes in order to construct stadiums. As Zirin points out, this is not the first time similar situations have risen in order to host a Major Games. Beijing is a recent example but there have been many others. In the end I agree with his position that hosting is not always worth the stated advantages of boosting the local economy and showcasing the city to the world.

All in all, I believe that when looking to host a Major sporting event, the human cost must also be looked at in addition to the financial costs. The situation in Brazil as well as others before it illustrate that sometimes what the organizing committee believes to be best for a community or country is not always what is right.


Zirin, Dave. (2013). Game Over. New York: The New Press

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3 Responses to The Real Cost of the 2014 World Cup

  1. Very tragic thing to happen, and especially with a very high profile event already under much scrutiny for being behind schedule. I absolutely agree with you, the human element should be taken into more of a consideration. It takes billions of dollars to host these events, but nobody ever really thinks of the amount of people it takes. I suspect this could be the start of something new in the bidding process – incorporating a human element protection/awareness part in the bidding packages. Loss of life will never trump hosting an event, and if it does, that’s a huge flaw in the government’s system.

  2. cgibb77 says:

    Very interesting take and I agree with you 100 percent. The human element has been neglected and this is very alarming. No one talks about people dying in construction efforts and probablly has happened more than we know.. Proper evaluations and methods to ensure safety should be a bigger priority for host cities. The human element should be included in the host cities bidding efforts and the commitee should strongly consider this element.

  3. ak08ty says:

    I don’t care what the event is, there should be no reason for loss of life. FIFA needs to recognize this when they are selecting the host site for their international tournaments. The FIFA selection committee needs to ensure the safety of everyone involved, before, during, and after the event is guaranteed with the candidate city before handing over one of their most prized trademark games to them.

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