Estádio Jornalista Felipe Drummond, the largest indoor arena in Brazil, will be revitalised after a consortium was appointed to operate the Belo Horizonte venue.

Commonly known as the Mineirinho, the owner of the arena, the State of Minas Gerais, has awarded the DMDL/Progen consortium a 35-year contract to manage, maintain and operate the facility.

First opened in 1980, the Mineirinho has fallen into a state of disrepair of late, with the last major sporting event held there being the final of the 2019 Women’s Volleyball Superliga. With a capacity of around 20,000, DMDL/Progen, which also operates the Estádio do Pacaembu in São Paulo, has been handed the remit of bringing the arena back up to the standards of becoming a major sports and entertainment venue.

The company’s forecast is that around R$150m (£24.6m/€29.1m/$30.7m) will be invested throughout the concession period. Of this total, R$41m is set to be allocated for the renovation of the facility, which will take place during the first two years of the contract.

In addition, the concessionaire will pay, over the 35 years, a share of the revenues that are obtained from the management of the arena. The contract provides for the payment of a variable grant of 2% of gross revenue. This amount will be increased by 1% every five years of the contract. If the concessionaire does not meet its performance indicators, the grant values ​​change to 4% at the beginning of the contract, reaching 9% at the end.

Fernando Marcato, Minas Gerais’ Secretary of State for Infrastructure and Mobility, said: “Mineirinho is the largest indoor arena in Brazil. Fortunately, it will now be operated in a decent way, with the renovations it needs, putting Belo Horizonte definitively on the country’s great circuits of concerts and sporting events.”

The State will retain ownership of the Mineirinho, with a clause inserted into the contract ensuring it will retain its original name. The State also believes that the new deal will contribute to attracting new business to the Pampulha region of Belo Horizonte. Operating rights to Pampulha Airport were also assigned to the private sector last year, with the State believing the two facilities can form a tourism and investment hub.

The award of the contract to DMDL/Progen comes four months after the tender process was suspended due to a lack of interested parties. Marcato added to local newspaper Estado de Minas: “On our side, we want to relieve the state, that is the state stops spending at least R$4m a year. It would have had to invest at least R$41m and all this will now be done by the private sector, this is our objective.”

Image: State of Minas Gerais