Located in the Pampulha neighborhood of Belo Horizonte, Estadio Mineirao opened in 1965 and is one of the most historic venues in Brazilian football. While the facility officially goes by the name Estadio Governador Magalhaes Pinto, those in footballing circles universally refer to it as the Mineirao. The stadium is home to Atletico Mineirao and Cruzeiro, two of Brazil’s premier football clubs and both former national champions. Estadio Mineirao has also been the setting for Brazilian national team matches, its vibrant and electric atmosphere providing the perfect backdrop for A Selecao’s epic clashes with arch-rivals Argentina in World Cup qualifiers in 2004 and 2008. Minierao is included in Belo Horizonte’s Historical Heritage List.
Estadio Mineirao has been completely renovated for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The overhaul took three years and was completed in December 2012. The refurbished stadium reopened in February 2013 with a friendly between Atletico and Cruzeiro, and it served as a venue for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. Cruzeiro agreed on a lease to play at Estadio Minierao for the next 25 years, while Atletico has not yet come to a formal agreement. For the time being, the club will continue to play at Estadio Independencia, but they are expected to return to Mineirao by the end of 2014.
When originally built, Estadio Mineirao was meant to be the most modern venue in Brazil, with a projected capacity of 130,000 spectators. In 1997, in a match between Cruzeiro and Vila Nova, a record attendance of 132,834 was set at the stadium. Before the renovation, Mineirao was the second largest stadium in the country, after the Maracana. In fact, the stadium’s size made it an attractive concert venue, and over the years it has hosted musicians as diverse as Paul McCartney, Kiss, and Beyoncé. In order to ensure fan safety, improve crowd control and accessibility, and upgrade the stadium to FIFA standards, renovations reduced capacity at Estadio Mineirao to 57,483.
Mineirao’s classic oval form was kept intact during the renovation. The bottom tier, however, was reconstructed and the pitch was lowered to create better visibility. The infrastructure has been fully upgraded, with an emphasis on security –there are more than 360 cameras –and the inclusion of more bars and shops; the stadium now boasts 58 bars and snack bars and 47 commercial shops. Aesthetic improvements have been made to the area surrounding Mineirao with the addition of more plant life and landscaping.
The renovation of Estadio Mineirao underscores the importance of sustainability. Mineirao is the first stadium in the world that is fully powered by solar energy. The photovoltaic panels on the roof are capable of generating energy for 1,200 households. In addition, the facility can now capture and store 6,270,000 litres of rainwater, which can be recycled. Estimates suggest 90% of the rubble produced by the building site was reused.
Estadio Mineirao will host six matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, including a round of 16 match and a semifinal. Play gets underway on 14 June when Columbia squares off against Greece.[ngg-nivoslider gallery=47 effect=fade caption=description order=sortorder shuffle=false]