International Handbook on the Economics of Mega Sporting Events
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International Handbook on the Economics of Mega Sporting Events

Edited by Wolfgang Maennig and Andrew Zimbalist

From the Olympics to the World Cup, mega sporting events are a source of enjoyment for tens of thousands of people, but can also be a source of intense debate and controversy. This insightful Handbook addresses a number of central questions, including: How are host cities selected and under what economic conditions? How are these events organized, and how is local resistance overcome? Based on historical and empirical experience, what are the pitfalls for the organizers of these events? What are the potential economic benefits, including any international image effects? How can the costs be minimized and the benefits maximized for host cities and countries? How do these mega events impact the challenges of globalization and what is their environmental legacy?
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Chapter 8: Can Mega Events Deliver Sustainability? The Case of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa

Anton Cartwright


Anton Cartwright* 1 INTRODUCTION ‘Ke Nako’ – it is time. These are the bold words that ushered in the 2010 FIFA World Cup between 11 June 2010 and 11 July 2010 in South Africa. ‘Time for what, exactly?’ was never totally clear. It was a football event, but everyone, from politicians to business people, social justice movements and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) hoped that Africa’s first hosting of the world’s largest mega event would boost their interests. As it transpired the 2010 Football World Cup was declared a success. FIFA awarded the country ‘9 out of 10 .  .  . a summa cum laude’ for its efforts (Blatter, 2010). The criteria for making these judgements vary and are vague, but South Africa became only the third host country since 1930 to attract more than three million paying spectators, the showpiece was responsible for the word ‘vuvuzela’ being entered into the Oxford Dictionary of English, and the FIFA World Cup showcased South Africa in a favourable light. For a country such as South Africa where the social fabric has repeatedly been fractured and the future remains highly contested, the opportunity to feel good about itself was not trivial. Aligning behind a single cause provided much needed support for the ongoing effort to build a new and more just society. South Africa’s successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup was preceded by its efforts on smaller – but none the less significant – events including the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the 2000 Summit on Sustainable Development, the...

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