Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Brazil Ranks 13th In Soccer Attendance Worldwide. Yes, Seriously.

This headline took me completely by surprise: "World Cup Host Brazil Struggles To Fill Stadiums." What?? I thought that Brazilians were crazy about "futebol." I just assumed, incorrectly as it turns out, that soccer stadiums would be crammed to capacity, just as you'd find a huge crowd filling the stadium on football Saturday at almost any American college or university. 

But no. According to the article, "fewer people go to see professional soccer matches than in China or the United States." OK, I could believe that fewer Brazilians attend soccer matches than in China, since China's population is so huge, but fewer than in the US? That really got my attention.

More from the article: "Brazilian clubs are using different strategies to try to fill their grounds but they are hampered by antiquated stadiums, a lack of respect for fans, television stations that show every game live and insufficient policing and security. In Brazil, just about everyone has a team and an opinion, but few actually go to support their side."

That last sentence sounds like a description of Americans when it comes to politics: everyone has an opinion, but relatively few (between 50 and 60 percent) bother to show up every two years to cast their vote.  Given that Brazilians have a much higher voter turnout than the US (over 80% in the last Presidential election), I assumed (again, incorrectly) that turnout at soccer matches would be really high.

The article cites various reasons for low attendance: the cost of tickets, stadiums in run-down areas, and occasional violence between rival groups of fans.   

Source:  Brazil Portal

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