Sport in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro

If you’re a sport lover visiting Sao Paulo or Rio, you’ll be thrilled to know that you can indulge your passion while there. Of course you know that the most popular sports in any part of Brazil is football, (soccer) which has come to be recognized as part of the national identity, but there are other sports too.

Named in honor of Saint Paul of Tarsus, the Brazilian city of São Paulo is known as an alpha global city in the southeastern part of Brazil. The city is the capital of the state of São Paulo, Brazil’s most populous and wealthiest state. It exerts strong regional influence in commerce, finance, arts and entertainment and a strong international influence. The Greater São Paulo ranked as the most populous metropolitan area in Brazil, the second in the Americas, the Southern Hemisphere, and the world’s 10th biggest metropolis by population.

For the history lovers visiting Brazil, São Paulo is definitely the place for you! The city is practically a museum in the open air, with various neighborhoods and buildings of historical value. But away from the museums and on to sports, you will find that Paulistanos, as residents of Sao Paulo are called, are not very big on organized sports, with the exception of football, which you will see being played everywhere, from parks, to regular pitches to sandy beaches. For many, it isn’t news as Brazil is a very football oriented country, but in Sao Paolo it has a massive following. The city’s major teams are Corinthians, Palmeiras and São Paulo FC. Portuguesa is a medium club and Juventus and Nacional are two small clubs. São Paulo was one of the host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The Arena Corinthians was built for the event and hosted six matches, including the opening match. The beautiful stadium seats 63,267 people and is definitely a must see sight for football fans around the world! Basketball and volleyball also have a loyal, but much smaller following.

Formula One is also one of the most popular sports in Brazil. One of Brazil’s most famous sportsmen is three times Formula One world champion and Sāo Paulo native Ayrton Senna. São Paulo is also fortunate enough to host the Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix at the Autódromo da Interlagos which also hosts other auto races on weekends. The race attracts massive attentions from locals and internationally.

Rio de Janeiro on its part is probably the most football crazy Brazilian city. As home to the iconic Mracana stadium, this city has played host to some of the most spectacular football matches, including during the 2014 world cup. It was built for the World Cup of 1950, and fully renovated for the World Cup 2014. Tourists love to stop at the main entrance with its statue of Bellini for a quick photo op. Visitors can also n visit the stadium itself on guided visits offered daily or even enjoy a live match.

Another sport that has a strong following in Rio is beach volleyball, understandable for a city where a beach is never too far away. When walking along Zona Sul’s (South Zone’s) beaches on a sunny day, one cannot miss the many beach volleyball games going on in the sand. It is very popular among amateur players, but also as a professional sport, one in which Brazil has won many medals at international level.

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