The Estádio do Maracanã (English: Maracanã Stadium), officially Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho, is an open-air stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Owned by the Rio de Janeiro State Government, it is, as the Maracanã neighborhood where it is located, named after the Rio Maracanã, a now canalized river in Rio de Janeiro. It was opened in 1950 to host the FIFA World Cup, and in the final game Brazil was beaten 2-1 by Uruguay. Since then, it has mainly been used for football matches between the major football clubs in Rio de Janeiro, including Botafogo, Flamengo, Fluminense, and Vasco da Gama. It has also hosted a number of concerts and other sporting events. Although the paid attendance at the final game of the 1950 FIFA World Cup was 199,854 (being the world’s largest stadium by capacity, when it was inaugurated), the stadium currently seats 78,838 spectators. It was the main venue of the 2007 Pan American Games, hosting the football tournament and the opening and closing ceremonies.
Over time, however, the stadium also has become a multi-character space to receive other events such as shows and games from other sports, such as volleyball. After several works of modernization, the current capacity of the stadium is 82,238 spectators, making it the largest stadium in Brazil and South America.
The Maracanã is, as of December 2012, closed for renovations and upgrades, and will reach a total capacity of around 78,838 spectators in preparations for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, the 2014 World Cup which will be the first one held in Brazil since 1950, the 2016 Summer Olympics, and the 2016 Summer Paralympics. The stadium’s reopening is forecasted for early 2013.
It still holds the record for the highest attendance to have ever been recorded in a game; the 1950 final was just 146 people below maximum capacity. Not only has it seen many great crowds and many great games, but the Maracana is also the place where Pele, widely considered to be the greatest player who ever lived, scored his 1000th goal.