How Did Brazil Do? The 2014 FIFA World Cup

In my June 14 post I revisited a Harvard Business Review online article I wrote in 2012 about evaluating mega-sports events, using the London Olympics as a case study. In that post the question I raised was essentially how effective Brazil’s preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup had been.

Prof. John Davis, Dean
Prof. John Davis, Dean, Global MBA & MGB at S P Jain School of Global Management

To answer, let’s first briefly recap. Prior to the start of the World Cup, global media reports were generally negative. On one hand, anticipation was high that the home team would win the sporting aspects of the competition, but lose the economic and societal PR battle.  Recall that the host nation spent between $11-14 billion dollars; that many of the venues were not completed by the start of the event; and that there had been numerous protests and social upheaval, particularly in the year prior, that garnered global attention. There were threats of more transportation disruptions within a day of the first match. Tensions were high.

What a difference one month can make. As expected, Brazil won its opening match vs. Croatia, although the home team did not display the kind of play one would expect of a potential champion. Nevertheless, it was a win, and one could sense Brazilians everywhere breathing a collective sigh of relief. Also as expected, football took over as the dominant media story, with reports of infrastructure and transportation disasters and crises all but disappearing, thankfully.

We now know Brazil’s football team failed, despite expectations (perhaps unrealistic in retrospect) that this 5-time world champion could win yet again. Germany won the crown vs. Brazil’s arch rivals, Argentina. But more importantly, the World Cup was generally quite successful, and Brazil should be proud. The economic impact will take longer to accurately assess-current figures are decidedly mixed. While the government officially estimated that more than 700,000 temporary and permanent jobs were created, such estimates need further analysis to understand the true long-term employment impact. Standard economic measures, such as the country’s leading indicator of industrial production, fell in June to its lowest level since 2010. Key sectors, such as the auto and steel industries, saw double digit percentage declines. But the short-term good news is that 600,000-1 million tourists visited the country, and more than 3 million Brazilians traveled within the country during the event. From a global PR perspective, Brazil demonstrated it could overcome adversity to successfully host a complex, global event.

With this apparent success questions remain, both for Brazil and for FIFA. There is still uncertainty about Brazil’s ability to meet the even more diverse demands of hosting the 2016 Olympics, and IOC officials are understandably concerned, despite a relatively problem-free World Cup. Similar to its World Cup efforts, Brazil’s Olympic preparations are behind schedule and over-budget. While the World Cup was a complex event, with 64 matches played in a dozen venues, the Olympics features 28 sports and 306 events played in over 30 venues, creating a complicated tangle of infrastructure and logistical needs that must be carefully integrated, along with an extraordinary eye for detail, to minimise any problems. Sponsors, too, need to be confident that Brazil’s Olympic Organising Committee is able to overcome doubts. Of course, skepticism is a known accomplice in any mega-sports event, and as this World Cup generally showed (with a few exceptions), it may prove to be much ado about nothing.

FIFA faces its own challenges. The controversy surrounding Qatar’s selection for the 2022 World Cup is not likely to abate. Indeed, the investigations will undoubtedly regain momentum in the near future. The Qatar situation brought to light hints of not just a tone-deaf FIFA leadership, but indications of a wilfully cavalier attitude toward transparency and honourable dealings which, if not overtly corrected soon, may well undermine the governing body’s long-term credibility, causing fans, media and sponsors to stay away, and harming football for years to come.

These concerns are very real, and the repercussions of inaction (or insufficient action) will not just affect football as a sport, but its value chain members (fans, suppliers, sponsors, media), damaging the sport’s future economic prospects and also its capacity to create a social good. FIFA must get its house in order.

So what did we learn about Brazil’s World Cup preparations and execution? Brazil’s efforts were similar to those undertaken by many previous mega-sports events host cities, and are most easily (albeit somewhat simplistically) described by three distinct phases:

  • Phase 1: Hype: create an energetic, feel-good rationale for the benefits of hosting the event (often based on spurious economic assumptions), communicated to citizens, government leaders, businesses, media, and sport governing bodies.
  • Phase 2: Heap: layer enormous expectations and demands on those responsible for developing and implementing the event, including: suppliers, contractors, transportation officials, government agencies, and volunteer groups.
  • Phase 3: Hope: rely on external actors in society to build continued post-event gains on the foundation provided by the event (tourism, regional investment, social spending).

While Brazil’s football team did not perform as expected (a bad thing for fans), their handling of the World Cup during the event also did not go as expected (a good thing for Brazil). The unknown is what the country does with this apparent success going forward. A clear plan (known as a post-event activation plan) that describes the long-term, sustainable gains from the World Cup should have been articulated long before now. There is insufficient evidence that such a plan was fully developed for the World Cup, which is a shame. But there is still time to develop and finalise a post-Olympics activation plan. Otherwise, the country will lose most, if not all, of any gains (both in PR goodwill and economic terms) derived from the world’s two biggest mega-sports events.

Source: Article written by Prof. John Davis (Copied from his LinkedIn post)


S P Jain conducted the 3rd and 4th editions of the Annual HR conclave in Dubai and Singapore respectively

Watch the video here: HR Conclave: How important is innovation in HR?

The Annual HR conclave saw participation of eminent HR practitioners from across the 2 regions to share their valuable insights on the challenges faced by HR professionals in the 21st century The theme of the conclave was “Succeeding in the Talent Economy of the 21st Century” which focused on the role of HR Managers in turning the tide by applying innovative approaches to motivate, engage and retain talent. Top-notch faces such as Dr. Abdulla Al Karam (Chairman, Board of Directors and Director General, Knowledge and Human Development Authority, Government of Dubai), Ms.. Suha Haroun (Regional Sales and HR Director,, Dubai), Mr. Julian Persaud (Managing Director – Google, South East Asia), Au Yuen Keng (Asia Regional HR Director of Becton Dickinson), and Aileen Tan (Group HR Director of the Singtel Group) among others, opined on “Retention and Motivation Strategies for the Workplace of the Future”. The talks that followed unearthed experiential instances from the minds of the speakers that made the topics so much more interesting and informative.

Peppered with experience-rich knowledge gained by years of interaction with the best in the industry were brief talks by Mr. Nitish Jain, President of the School; Dr. Dhrupad Mathur, Director of Industry Interface Program; Prof. Arindam Banerjee, Assistant Professor of Finance and Director, Student Life, Dubai campus; Professor Christopher Abraham, Head – Dubai Campus and Senior Vice President, S P Jain School of Global Management.

Overall, a day spent understanding the nuances of HR practices and the challenges faced by the industry in the 21st century.

S P Jain students battle at, The Inter-University Debate Competition: Cross-Fire

On the 19th February 2014, the MGB and GMBA students from S P Jain’s Dubai campus, participated in the 14th ‘Cross-Fire’ Debate competition hosted by the Skyline University College, Sharjah.

Inter-University Debate Competition

This annual event is one of the most highly rated inter-college debate challenges of the region. The other participating universities were BITS Pilani, Manipal University, Middlesex University, AUS and the University of Wollongong, Dubai.

The topic was one of the most debated ones till date – Social Media and its effects: Boon or Bane? The lively and thought-provoking debates covered every aspect of the topic. The issues discussed in the debate ranged from social media as a platform for spreading awareness to its contribution to melancholy in the life of young people.

The judging panel included several influential personalities such as Malavika Vardhan, Breakfast Show presenter of the popular radio station RJ-101.6 FM, Lokesh Dharmani, RJ and Film Critic of the same station, one8one’s own editor, Sofia, Dr. Mary John, a renowned psychologist and Peter Davos, Founder and Managing Director of Carian College Advisors.

All participants put up a tough fight and presented remarkable ideas for a grueling period of three hours. The opportunity turned out to be a pleasant experience which was quite enriching in terms of networking with other colleges’ students. Students interacted with the judges also and bagged satisfactory feedbacks on their performances.


Yakult Drink

The Scholastic side of a Delicious Home Treat

On a tranquil Thursday afternoon, a mere nine days after the beginning of a brand new year, S P Jain’s BBA class of 2017 sat restlessly in their last class of the day, keen to start the activities that lay ahead. The moment the clock signalled the end of class, we rushed as a cohort outside the door in order to prepare ourselves for a trip to Singapore’s Yakult Factory. A few minutes later, we were as ready as we would ever be, and boarded the buses that would take us to our destination.

Yakult Drink

We were greeted by our Yakult experts, Ms Chin and Mr. Wong at the front desk, along with an amazing giant sized model of a Yakult bottle. More embarrassing as it is to admit, a lot of our attention was focused more on the model than on the guide as evidenced by the numerous photos each one of us had with it. After introductions had been made, limbs stretched out, and pictures taken, we made our way towards their lecture hall where we were each given a complimentary bottle of Yakult.

As we listened to the presentation by Mr. Wong, we enjoyed our free, healthy, not to mention delicious drink. We learnt that Yakult is a premium probiotic cultured milk drink that contains the specially cultivated beneficial bacteria known as Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota (l.casei strain Shirota). Each little bottle of Yakult is packed with more than 10 billion l.casei strain Shirota, enough to replenish the friendly bacteria in your digestive system.

S P Jain Students at Yakult

Only Yakult contains l.casei strain Shirota, the unique probiotic strain specially developed by the founder, Dr. Minoru Shirotato ensure safety from over a thousand types of harmful bacteria. Not only was the drink delightful, it prevented as much sicknesses as regular check-ups to the doctor! Once the presentation was over, we were shown around the factory’s more technological areas.

Touring the area, we were greeted by many astounding sights. Huge metal vats of cultured milk, flavourings and even bacteria were stored within easy reach. This area is cleaned and decontaminated every two hours in order to ensure the cleanliness of the produce. Afterwards, we encountered the bottling process coupled with the packaging procedures, both of which were extremely fascinating, almost mystifying to watch. The whole manufacturing process was made accessible and we managed to get a bird’s-eye view of it.

S P Jain's Students at Yakult

Despite our evident pleasure in being able to view such a remarkable process, our trip had to come to an end due to time constraints. However, we did not leave empty handed. As we left the factory, our minds where bursting with inspiration. The fact that such a small drink could make such a colossal difference to our systems wasn’t something anyone could easily forget. We would not be forgetting this visit anytime soon, after all, a few of us did end up making several purchases in order to take the tasty treat back home with us. Thank you student life for organising this factory visit, it helped us understand the business and marketing aspects of a successful company like Yakult!

Source: S P Jain School of Global Management