Brazilians Glean Lessons From Super Bowl Planning

Posted by Reta Jo Lewis
January 31, 2013
Brazilian Officials Pose With Olympic Flag in Rio de Janeiro

As many Americans are preparing for this weekend's Super Bowl -- arguably the biggest annual sporting event in the United States -- Brazilians are looking ahead to 2014, and 2016, when they'll host the World Cup and the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In December 2012, I led a dynamic delegation of sports and entertainment business leaders to Sao Paulo and Brasilia. At the request of Brazil's Ministry of Sports, my office assembled this delegation to expand U.S.-Brazil cooperation in preparation for Brazil's hosting a series of major international sporting events, including the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Our efforts to expand U.S.-Brazil cooperation in this area were met with great enthusiasm from all we met with in Brazil.

The delegation of 15 experts from the U.S government and the private sector -- including national football and soccer clubs, academia and the financial services industry -- shared best practices with Brazilian federal, state and local officials and examined potential opportunities related to the major sporting events. The delegation's collective and diverse experience enabled discussion on a variety of themes within the context of the major sporting events, including business opportunities, the creation of a positive legacy, the importance of community involvement, and racial and social inclusion. It also demonstrated the many possibilities for public and private sector engagement with the United States.

In Sao Paulo, we met with the State Secretary for Sports, Leisure, and Youth; the Director of Investe Sao Paulo; Sao Paulo's Vice Mayor-elect; the American Chamber's Travel and Business Committee; and the Federation of Industries of the State of Sao Paulo Deputy General Director. We also toured the Arena Corinthians soccer stadium construction site to review the facility's preparations for upcoming sporting and entertainment activities in addition to soccer.

While in Brasilia, we met with the Minister and Deputy Minister of Sports; the Minister of Tourism; the Minister of the Secretariat for Policies to Promote Racial Equality (SEPPIR); Ministry of Foreign Relations officials; sports industry representatives; and government officials from five states that will host World Cup soccer matches. In addition, we toured Brazil's National Stadium construction site with Federal District government officials, and participated in a luncheon for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, that included Brazilian Government and business leaders. At this luncheon, Mayor Villaraigosa signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Two-Way Investment Promotion Cooperation between the City of Los Angeles and the Alliance for Business Exchange of Brazil.

The Government of Brazil is eager to pursue next steps with the Department, other U.S. government agencies, and delegation members. On behalf of the delegation, I accepted an invitation from the Forum on Sports Ministers to attend their next meeting and have agreed with the Ministry of Sports to organize early this year, a seminar and potential working group focused on security sports cooperation and exchange of best practices.

In addition, Mayor Mitch Landrieu will extend invitations to Brazilian officials to attend a forum in New Orleans to focus on security for major events. In cooperation with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS), the forum will include a session highlighting an after-action presentation on NFL Super Bowl XLVII. To prepare for the forum, DS is collaborating with their Brazilian counterparts to send a small, select delegation of Brazilian officials to observe security arrangements at the Super Bowl on February 3.

So, as I enjoy America's "Big Game" this Sunday night, I will also be thinking about the people working behind the scenes to make the event possible. I am grateful our Brazilian colleagues will have an opportunity to meet some of those individuals, and I look forward to continued collaborations between the United States and Brazil.



February 1, 2013

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