Estádio Nilton Santos (Engenhão)

Capacity46 931
Country Brazil
CityRio de Janeiro
ClubsCR Flamengo, Botafogo FR, Fluminense FC, CR Vasco da Gama
Other names Estádio Olímpico João Havelange (2003-2015)
Inauguration 30/06/2007
Construction 2003-2007
Renovations 2013
Record attendance 43 810 (Fluminense - Botafogo, 30/06/2007)
Cost R$ 380 million
Design Carlos Porto

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Description: Estádio Nilton Santos

When it was still only on renderings back in 2003, mayor’s office estimated costs to be around $30m. After finishing with delays in 2007, the budget turned out to be 533% higher with total cost at $192m. For this price Rio received its largest athletics venue with possibility to expand further at end zones.  It was finished just ahead of 2007 Panamerican Games, for which it was designed.

Slow construction earned it quite some criticism. To add to that, right after finishing a massive wall (15 by 6 meters) fell down, thankfully not leaving anyone injured. And even more, aesthetics are arguable with sightlines far from optimum for football fans. Those are most frequent users of the stadium with local team Botafogo having signed lease (until 2027) and other clubs (Fluminense, Flamengo and occasionally Brazilian national side) also dropping by while other venues are being revamped.

Apart from football and the 2007 Panamerican Games, it will be the main athletics venue for 2016 Olympics and Paralympics. Concerts are also being organized here when not in football use with other sports being rather rare.

The ground was named after João Havelange, long time sports official (among other roles – FIFA president). At the same time many Botafogo fans call it just Stadium Rio, while others renamed it after local district Engenhão, as is tradition in Brazil. In 2012 controversy has sparked after documents proving Havelange’s corruption were released.

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