Estádio do Pacaembu

Sao Paulo, Brazil | C.1940

Photo Credit: Paulo Vicelli

For decades, football competitions were played at Sao Paulo’s Estadio do Pacaembu on its football field. The stadium has hosted countless matches over the years, including the 1950 FIFA World Cup. Today, football has even encroached below the bleachers – in a museum dedicated to the history of Brazilian football.

The stadium opened on April 27, 1940 with the Brazilian President Getulio Vargas and the Sao Paulo Mayor Prestes Maia in attendance. At its opening, the first match – a double match – Palestra Italia and Coritiba competed for the first win, followed immediately by a match between Corinthians and Atletico Mineiro.

Designed in the Art Deco style, the stadium is recognized as a landmark of Brazilian architecture. Its horseshoe shape and front entrance are notably impressive elements in addition to its size and modern features. With a capacity of 40,199 seats, at its peak the venue can hold 70,000 spectators. In 1961, the stadium was officially named Estadio Municipal Paulo Machado de Carvalho but is still colloquially referred to as Estadio do Pacaembu.

Beyond the professional football matches, Estadio do Pacaembu has hosted concerts and cultural events. In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI met with Brazilian youth during a conference held at the stadium.

Today the stadium hosts home matches for the Big 4 football clubs of Sao Paulo, and as a location when a visiting club requires a higher seating capacity for a match. In 2008, the Museu do Futebol was created to memorialize the history of Brazilian football. Located below the stadium’s bleachers, the museum covers 1.7 acres and took 13 months to complete.

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