League games cannot fill even one in ten seats (!), so Brazil’s second largest stadium is used as district offices and bus depot to cut costs.
In the 65 days of this year Estádio Nacional de Brasília Mané Garrincha hosted only two games. But that’s not a problem itself, after all it’s only early March. What’s a much bigger issue is that only high-profile friendly games can draw significant crowds to the stadium. And none of the famous Brazilian clubs is stationed in Brasilia.
Meanwhile local league games, primarily of Brasilia FC, hardly manage to draw 5,000 per game. At a stadium of over 72,000 seats that’s a dramatically low number. Not enough for the hosts to count on matchday revenue and hardly anything for the stadium public operators, who need to cover R$ 600,000 ($200,000 / €180,000) in maintenance every month.
The stadium owned by the Federal District Government is thus used daily as offices. Departments of sport, economic and sustainable development and social development have their workers transferred here. Spaces under the stands can offer up to 400 workplaces, making the stadium an office by day.
The number 400 surfaces again on nearby parking lots. Here up to 400 buses rest parked between rush hours. As the Federal District needs to cut costs, the buses rest in this vast unused parking space until they’re needed instead of driving back to the actual depot. Each kilometer traveled by the fleet of 400 costs R$2,000 ($670 / €600), so keeping distances shorter sounds sensibly. Especially that the vast parking spaces around Estadio Nacional are underused on weekdays.
While some media outlets (mainly tabloids) suggest this cost-cutting effort is a desperate attempt to save the stadium, it’s actually nothing new. Buses were stationed around the stadium in large numbers before it was even opened, owing to the stadium’s strategic location. This also changes very little for the stadium’s finances as well.