|Roberto Siviero- General Manager, Stadium & Venues, 2014 FIFA World Cup|
|Profile of the week|
Monday, 25 June 2012 08:45
Roberto Siviero is the General Manager of Stadium and Venues for the 2014 World Cup.
After completing his education in the United States, Roberto started work with Corinthians Football Club, where he implemented projects to improve match day operations.
Following on from this, Roberto worked for the XV Pan-American Games, Rio 2007, looking after the Venue Operations, Spectator Services and Operational Communications. This was the largest sporting project in Brazil before the country gained the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.
After the successful Rio 2007 Games, Roberto became involved in the Rio 2016 bid for the Olympics, acting as the Finance Chapter Project Manager and later helping to deliver the Ticketing chapter of the bid book.
In addition, Roberto helped FIFA deliver the Rio 2008 Futsal World Cup as the Maracanãzinho Venue Manager.
Recently, Roberto worked as a Cluster Manager for the London 2012 Organising Committee, before becoming a consultant, helping with the Transport Planning for the 2011 Guadalajara Pan American Organising Committee.
Since August 2010, Roberto has been with the Brazilian Local Organising Committee for the World Cup, with the aim of delivering an unforgettable World Cup in 2014.
What influenced your decision to enter into the world of sports business?
I’ve been very enthusiastic about sports since I was young and I knew I wanted to be involved in the industry somehow. I actually started out coaching, but there was a legislation change in Brazil. There was a mandatory law, which meant football clubs were to be run like business firms. That was when I thought I could be a factor in evolving sports administration in Brazil. That’s what flicked the switch.
How did you get your big opportunity at Corinthians?
While I was studying for my Masters in Upstate New York, Buffalo, several corporations, investment firms and sport marketing firms began striking deals with top football clubs in Brazil for the commercialisation of rights. One of such deals was struck between Corinthians and an US investment firm, who then hired a sports group from New York. I got a hold of the people in New York and went for an interview by bus, which took almost ten hours! I offered to do the internship at Corinthians, explained my case and I became the third employee of that joint venture.
Are you a Corinthians supporter?
Actually, I am a Corinthians supporter. It’s funny because I tried to mentally not show it. In Brazil, the club administrator is just a supporter with power and I didn’t want to be seen in that light, even though I was really happy inside.
Has your experience working on the 2007 Pan American Games helped you prepare for the Brazil 2014 project?
The experience in the Olympic world definitely helped a lot. The 2007 Pan-American Games in Rio showed the capacity that Brazil has to stage such a large event and was the showcase for the Olympic bid. I and several other people who worked on those events bring an expertise that we learnt from the problems and issues we faced. The main difference is that we have to now do it over twelve cities. It’s a really big challenge to make the same event, with the same standards, with the same organization, with the same level of people working in those twelve cities in an heterogeneous country. We’ve used what we’ve learnt in planning and we’re anticipating issues that we know will come around.
As General Manager of Stadium & Venues for Brazil 2014, what are your job responsibilities?
I divide it very simply into two areas; infrastructure and operations. In terms of infrastructure, we have the opportunity to take the FIFA recommendations and apply them to the legacy projects of the stadiums that are being built and refurbished. We take all those recommendations and act as a free consultant to the stadium construction teams in order to help them achieve the best legacy stadium that they can. That’s one big part of the job.
Temporary adaptations for the World Cup and the Confederations Cup are also dealt through our department. No stadium in the world is ready to host a World Cup match in its legacy state mainly because you have a demand of clients that surpasses the structure that you have. For instance, for the World Cup there can be 600-1000 journalists, depending on the stage of the competition. You cannot possibly have the adequate amount of media tribunes to hold that amount of people. So, all stadiums have to erect media centers in order to give the journalists a place to work.
The operation side deals with the planning, together with the PMO (Project Management Office) of the World Cup Organizing Committee. We are helping them plan until we get to matchday and everybody knows what to do, how to do it and how to deliver the service to the clients. We conduct the planning of all those areas that make an event - catering, logistics, transport, security, broadcast, medical services - in order to get the integrated approach that is needed.
What are the most challenging and, equally, rewarding aspects of your job?
There is an opportunity for a big paradigm shift in terms of the level of quality of the stadiums and the level of operations in the stadiums. The challenge is to be able to help that jump because now it’s very rudimentary, particularly if you compare it to the U.S and England. That’s the biggest challenge and the biggest reward because we are able to influence such a large component of sport in Brazil.
Are there any concerns at this stage?
Well, there are always concerns because construction work is always hard to control; bad weather, strikes and all sorts of stuff, but we are confident that all stadiums are on track for the World Cup. For the Confederations Cup, we are pushing them to deliver six new stadiums a bit earlier than planned and the cities have responded really well.