Estádio Nilton Santos (Engenhão)

Capacity44 661
Country Brazil
CityRio de Janeiro
ClubsBotafogo FR
Other names Estádio Olímpico João Havelange (2003-2015)
Inauguration 30/06/2007
Construction 2003-2007
Renovations 2013, 2016, 2017
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 was also 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). In 2012 controversy has sparked after documents proving Havelange’s corruption were released. From 2015 onwards the official name has been changed to that of Nilton Santos, legend of Botafogo.

Despite the stadium's relatively young age, it was subject to huge controversy in structural terms. In 2013 it had to be closed to the public for fear of roof's instability during high winds. Further works included renovations for the 2016 Olympics and then return to regular football use in 2017.

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