Rio de Janeiro seeking operator for Maracanã

The Rio de Janeiro State Government has launched a tender process seeking a new operator for Estádio do Maracanã.

The Government is seeking a concession agreement for the “economic exploration, management, operation and maintenance of the Maracanã Complex”. This includes both the iconic stadium and the adjacent Maracanãzinho arena.

The Government, which owns the Complex, is seeking to strike a 20-year contract with the winning bidder due to be announced on October 27. The licensee is required to organise at least 70 football games a year at the Maracanã, plus a further 12 events at Maracanãzinho.

Flamengo is currently the main tenant of the Maracanã, alongside fellow Campeonato Brasileiro Série A football club Fluminense. Indeed, the two clubs have also served to manage the stadium since April 2019 after they agreed what was then an initial six-month deal for the Maracanã Complex.

The deal came after the Government announced that it would regain control of the 78,000-seat stadium following the annulment of a contract with its private administrators. The Government stated at the time that it was owed around BRL38m (£5.77m/€6.78m/$6.9m) by Maracanã SA, the group that used to run the stadium. This group was led by the Odebrecht conglomerate and operated the stadium from 2017 after securing a 35-year contract.

Flamengo and Fluminense’s intentions for the Maracanã are unclear, but the former has been making moves to develop its own stadium. Flamengo president, Rodolfo Landim, this week said the club is in talks over using the Gasômetro site in Rio de Janeiro for its proposed new stadium, stating it is an “area of interest”.

Landim’s latest comments came after he said last week that Flamengo was weighing up several options for a new stadium, as it awaited news on a public tender process for the Maracanã.

The new tender maintains the right for the Maracanã to be utilised by clubs that are not part of its official administration, a point of contention of late. Série B team Vasco da Gama had to go to court to play a match against Cruzeiro last month at the Maracanã after Flamengo and Fluminense refused a request to release the stadium.

Vasco could also be interested in the new tender, but is also said to be evaluating redevelopment of its Estádio São Januário.

Commenting on the launch of the tender, Secretary of State for the Casa Civil do Rio de Janeiro, Nicola Miccione, said: “We held several debates with all the interlocutors in this process and managed to build a document that guarantees that Maracanã remains an extremely important sports centre for the state.

“We take care of the process with full transparency and governance. The stadium is a facility that reflects the soul of Rio de Janeiro, and we seek to guarantee the best for tourism and sport in Rio.”

Image: Daniel Basil/CC BY 3.0/Edited for size