The growing influence of the Brics nations (comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and S Africa) in world affairs was symbolised by the staging of the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the World Cup in South Africa 2010, and will be further underlined by Brazil's hosting of both events.
Leaving aside the public relations value of putting these host countries in the global spotlight, they have tried to use these mega-events to boost development by accelerating investments in infrastructure and lifting services, governance and local business to international levels.
However, the cost to the public purse and the communities affected can be enormous, prompting criticism that the money would be better spent at grassroots level, on improving health and education, rather than on awarding prestige projects to construction companies.
South Africa and Beijing have been left with expensive white elephants, because the huge stadiums they constructed are now rarely used. Many believe Brazil might suffer the same drain on resources.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) now includes legacy issues in its regulations for hosting bids, but Fifa makes no such formal consideration in deciding World Cup hosts.
Nádia Campeão, the deputy mayor of São Paulo, which will host several matches next year, said, "Even if FIFA is not worried, the host city should be," she said. "There has to be more assessment of their demands. Do we really need to do everything?"
Letícia Osório of the Ford Foundation said many people in Rio have become worse off because of forced evictions for sports-related construction projects. The city also suffered a drain on funds in hosting 2007 Pan American Games. Many facilities built for that event, at great cost, proved inadequate for the Olympics and had to be demolished or rebuilt.