The Contemporary Politics of Sports Mega-Events

Authored by: John Horne

Routledge Handbook of Sport and Politics

Print publication date:  October  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138792548
eBook ISBN: 9781315761930
Adobe ISBN: 9781317646679

10.4324/9781315761930.ch20

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Abstract

This chapter discusses the contemporary politics of sports mega-events, involving the Olympic Games and FIFA Men’s Football World Cup Finals, as well as other lower ‘order’ sports megas (Black 2014). From the late 1960s onward – roughly from the Tokyo Summer Olympics of 1964 – sports mega-events have been caught up in symbolic politics, taking two main forms. First, there are the promotional opportunities offered by them to enhance reputations – by competing with other cities and nations, winning the right to stage them and actually hosting them. This form of politics is sometimes referred to as the exercise of ‘soft power’ (Nye 1990) or public diplomacy, as nations, and increasingly cities, have sought to develop their place in the modern world and establish what has been referred to as ‘brand identity’ (Anholt 2008; Grix and Houlihan 2014).

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