The Big Zero by Emmett FitzGerald
Emmett FitzGerald is always on the lookout for a good sports story, and since he started working at 99pi he has been looking into stadiums. He hasn’t found one that is worth spending a whole episode on, but this is one of his favorites.
There is a very unusual soccer stadium in the northeast Brazilian state of Amapá, a region that’s mostly dense rainforest. The capital city, Macapá, is so remote there are no roads connecting it to the rest of the country. Tourists do visit Macapá though, and one of the things that draws them there is its location — it sits precisely on the equator.
A giant red stripe runs down Avenida Equatorial, marking the world’s most famous latitude line. That equator also runs right into the city’s soccer stadium.
The 10,000-person arena is officially called the Estadio Milton Corrêa after a local sporting bureaucrat, but everyone just calls it O Zerão, or: the Big Zero (after its notable latitude). And the stadium was built so that the equator runs perfectly down the midfield line of the pitch.
The Big Zero mostly hosts small Brazilian professional soccer clubs, but each match is a battle between hemispheres: north versus south. At least until half-time when the teams switch sides.