Mega-events and the developing world: A look at the legacy of the 2010 soccer world cup

Harris L. (2011)


To consider the legacy of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, after a brief introduction covering the socio-economic and political background of South Africa, this paper defines mega-events, highlighting the additional challenges faced by developing countries competing for hosting privileges versus more developed countries. It focuses on a few examples of perceived tangible benefits to South Africa arising from hosting the World Cup, specifically the construction of several new stadiums, the increase in tourism, and the highspeed 'Gautrain', versus the opportunity costs of expenditures on large scale projects that do not directly meet the needs of the poor of South Africa. Finally, an examination of the value of the often over-looked intangible benefits of mega-events like the World Cup follows, including increased national unity in the face of several centrifugal forces and improved international perceptions, especially as the latter relate to South African and African potential. What is the true legacy of the 2010 Soccer World Cup? The discussion will attempt to answer this question. © 2011 The South African Institute of International Affairs.

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