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Why Your World Cup Stadium Sucks: Arena Pernambuco, Recife

Illustration for article titled Why Your World Cup Stadium Sucks: Arena Pernambuco, Recife

The United States are out. Why do I even bother with anything? It's all over, I don't want to talk to anyone.


The Basics

Capacity: 46,000

Date Completed: 2013

Number of Workplace Deaths: None

Most Closely Resembles: A place that might not have any entrances?

How corrupt is it?

You might have seen Teddy Goalsavelt fording the flooded streets of Recife shouting "Bully!" on his way to the US-Germany tilt last week. That the roads surrounding Pernambuco was inundated shouldn't come as much of a surprise: the stadium is about 12 miles west of downtown Recife in a rural section of the city outskirts that has been "lagging behind" economically compared to the rest of the region. Even with all the rain the match started on time and, while both sides looked like they warmed up by having Super Soaker fights, the state-of-the-art drainage system made sure the pitch stayed passable. Unfortunately the rest of Recife looked like the lost city of Atlanta.


If you haven't noticed yet, the lack of promised regional improvements is sort of a theme when it comes to the World Cup preparations. Projects far enough along to have actually broken ground are operating on delayed schedules that stretch out for years, while most of the highways, subways, and utility improvements are still stuck in the planning stage. Recife wasn't in line for improvements specific to its climatic realities, but you could have been excused for thinking there was one guy thinking, "Huh, I wonder if it's going to rain a lot in Recife in June," when all this shit was coming together. But, then, the law has little to do with things left undone.

(One excuse that gained some traction the morning of the deluge was that Recife received a full quarter of their average monthly rainfall in one 24 hour period so the flooding was more aberration than habit. But that's still only about 3.5 inches of rain in an area that has a lot of experience trudging through wet Southern Hemisphere winters.)


Pernambuco's location has also frustrated some observers and locals who think its remote location might be a handout to developers looking for fresh opportunities and a publicly funded anchor property, a prospect that isn't exactly unheard of. The suspicion isn't eased when so much of the media messaging has been around the Pernambuco's rural surroundings which are constantly labeled as "economically struggling" rather than, you know, farmland. There's also accusations that World Cup-associated developments in Recife-proper have circumvented traditional planning processes and are going up without community input. The steamroll is still facing some strong protests that trace their roots to the Occupy movement which means the fires of indignation will probably die out once Brown starts its Fall semester.

Corruption Score: 3 out of 5 Blatters

What's the worst thing that happened during construction?

Since construction happened on a relatively blank canvas outside of Recife—and not, say, in the middle of the fucking rainforest—construction wasn't marred by any significant delays or anxieties about opening on time.


I know this happened after construction but the images of people—average Brazilians, not the folks heading towards Pernambuco—wading through waist-deep water through what is ostensibly a modern city of 1.5m people will be the defining image of corruption of the World Cup, at least for me. Recife spent $280m building a brand new stadium and the streets still flood after a bad storm. This is the stuff that should still piss everyone off. But hey at least it lights up at night!

Any post-World Cup uses?

One of Recife's most popular teams ,Clube Náutico Capibaribe, calls Arena Pernambuco home. Alright they might have finished 20th in Brazil's Serie A and been relegated last season but that doesn't mean they can't bust back into the top tier next campaign! Look at their mascot! That, um, possum looks capable of anything! Anything...

Illustration for article titled Why Your World Cup Stadium Sucks: Arena Pernambuco, Recife

Should you go there?

Recife looks pretty damn gorgeous judging by a completely subjective Google image search and seems to maintain a balance of historical preservation and modern development. Apparently they also host the biggest Carnivale celebration in Brazil, which makes me wish I didn't say all those nice things about Salvador. Apparently Recife is where you go to do Carnivale correctly, especially if you follow this giant rooster parade thing around. (I'm told that it's the Galo da Madrugada, and that it is important.)


Brazil Stadium Rank: 10 out of 12

I am not 100% sure you can actually get into Arena Pernambuco. The footage of those games might have been faked, like the moon landing.


Previously: Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador | Arena Baixada, Curitiba | Arena Pantanal, Cuiabá | Arena Das Dunas, Natal | Arena Amazonia, Manaus


TM Brown is a city planner living in New York. If you want him to bore you to death talking about infrastructure and urban planning, follow him on Twitter, @RadialsBlog.


Screamer is Deadspin's soccer site. We're @ScreamerDS on Twitter. We'll be partnering with our friends at Howler Magazine throughout the World Cup. Follow them on Twitter, @whatahowler.

Photo Credit: Getty

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