AEG Makes Second Inroad into Brazil

Nova Arena in Sao Paolo will be configurable for any sized event

  • by Dave Brooks
  • Published: October 12, 2011


Rendering of the Nova Arena in Sao Paolo, which will be managed by AEG Facilities

AEG Facilities has landed its second major soccer stadium in Brazil, paving the way for expansion of the global powerhouse into Latin America.

AEG will manage Nova Arena in Sao Paolo when it opens in 2013 as the new home of the popular Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras soccer team. Nova Arena is simply the working name for the $185- million facility (it translates to New Stadium in Portugese) and has also been called Arena Palestra Itália by the Brazilian media. The stadium replaces the 111-year-old Estádio Palestra Itália and will likely have a naming rights partner by the time it opens in April 2013.

Chuck Steedman, GM of the AEG-managed XL Center in Hartford, Conn., has taken the lead on Brazilian business development for AEG Facilities and said the Sao Paolo deal comes after months of travel and negotiations in Brazil.

“The entertainment market is exploding in Brazil right now,” said Steedman. “Brazil’s economy is a rocket sled on rails and they’re showing year-over-year sustained economic growth.”

The new stadium will not be part of the 2014 World Cup, but will be highly configurable for concerts and special events. A roof overhang will protect most of the seats from rain.

For soccer, the stadium will be configured as a 45,000-seat FIFA-standard stadium, expandable to up to 60,000 for special events and concerts. The facility includes 200 skyboxes, two restaurants including one with panoramic views of the field, and a number of high-end hospitality offerings.

“They’re also building an adjacent office for the club which will come online this year,” he said. “And like other Brazilian soccer teams, Palmeiras is a true athletic club with members that can take advantage of their sporting facilities. That means the site with have additional gymnasiums, workout rooms, tennis courts and a swimming pool.”

Using an advanced curtaining and roofing system, the stadium can also be adjusted into a 15,000-17,000 concert venue that will have the look and feel of a concert arena.

“The curtaining system will close off the stadium and create a music facility in one end zone of the stadium. They’ll have the ability to completely close it off from the rest of the facility,” he said. The roof on the end zone will extend long enough for the curtaining system to enclose the space.

“Right now in Sao Paolo, there’s nothing else like that size in this market, not even remotely close.”
Brazilian firm WTORRE is the architect and designer of the project and obtained the management contract from the team as part of its full funding of facility, which it then outsourced to AEG. That second agreement is a ten-year management contract for the facility with the option to extend the contract an additional 20 years.

AEG also has a contract to manage a 45,000-seat stadium in Recife called Arena Pernambuco which will be utilized in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Interviewed for this article: Chuck Steedman, (860) 249-6333 

  • by Dave Brooks
  • Published: October 12, 2011