The outcome of the football World Cup in Brazil was sobering: the sporting mega-event cost the country at least €8.5 billion euros but did not stimulate economic growth. The social costs, by contrast, were high. Various estimates put the number of people displaced or threatened by eviction at up to a quarter million. The promised development of public transportation infrastructure as a legacy of the tournament largely proved to be a chimera.
The Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games are coming to Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and once again, the promises are tantalizing: a new tram, bus rapid transit routes, metro lines and sewage treatment for the entire city.
Dawid Danilo Bartelt analyzes the impact of the two events in detail, illustrating how sporting mega-events have established themselves as a business model. The losers of such events are often the host city’s most vulnerable people, democracy and human rights.