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Podcast May 08, 2019

Explaining Brazil #59: The business of Brazilian football

This episode, The business of Brazilian football, is supported by Fast Help. Fast Help is a Brasília-based IT company that is focused on cybersecurity. Protect your business by teaming up with Fast Help. Go to for more information on how to protect your company’s virtual space.

Brazilian domestic football is huge. With tons of large cities and giant clubs, there are at least 12 teams in the country which can count their fan bases in the millions—a few in the tens of millions. And, year in, year out, anyone from a pool of five to eight clubs starts the season with realistic chances to become national champions. In many respects, Brazil is among the most competitive leagues in world football.

Still, Brazilian clubs have systematically failed to turn the world’s most popular sport into a profitable business.

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On this episode:

  • Fernando Monteiro is a managing director and partner in L.E.K. Consulting’s São Paulo office. He produced a study on Brazilian club’s financial woes.

Background reading:

  • Euan Marshall writes about why despite having dozens of millions of fans, Brazilian football clubs remain powerless and obey the will of the scandal-ridden CBF.
  • Brazil’s Football League could be a great product, but it is hurt by poor management from teams and the local FA.
  • In Brazil, as in many countries around the world, politicians and governments rarely miss the opportunity to use the country’s favorite sport in their favor.
  • Of the 20 Brazilian football teams analyzed by L.E.K., 14 posted losses in 2016—either because they’ve spent too much on signings, or invested too much money on new stadiums.

Explaining Brazil is made by:

  • Gustavo Ribeiro, editor in chief of The Brazilian Report. He has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets, including Veja, Época, Folha de São Paulo, Médiapart and Radio France Internationale.
  • Maria Martha Bruno, producer. She is a journalist with 14 years of experience in politics, arts, and breaking news. She has collaborated with Al Jazeera, NBC, and CNN, among others, and worked as an international correspondent in Buenos Aires.
  • Euan Marshall, editing. is a journalist and translator who has lived in São Paulo, Brazil since 2011. Specializing in Brazilian soccer, politics and the connection between the two, his work has been published in The Telegraph, Al Jazeera, The Independent, among others.

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