Chapter

The Four ‘Cs’ of Sports Mega-Events: Capitalism, Connections, Citizenship and Contradictions

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Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to outline some theoretical frameworks and conceptual tensions around the study of sports mega-events, and thus provide a non-prescriptive structure for the discussions and debates that appear elsewhere in this volume. Borrowing the language of Perry Anderson (2007) writing in the New Left Review, these should be regarded as ‘Jottings more than theses’ and as a result ‘they stand to be altered or crossed out’ as time progresses. I will attempt to identify, in journalistic fashion, what’s the story? What is worth telling about sports mega-events? What things catch the interest of researchers and students and what does not? In this respect I will connect an earlier paper of mine on the ‘four “knowns” of sports mega-events’ to this one (Horne 2007).

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... A sport mega-event attracts audiences from around the globe (2), which can help the host nation to portray strong cultural and social values in addition to displaying its economic and political might (3)(4)(5).In recent years, the relevance of the relationship between the tourism sector and the Olympic Games has gained increased recognition (6). The intensive media coverage engulfing the Olympic Games presents an opportunity for a city to advertise itself to potential tourists; one of the critical factors in a nation's bid to host a sports mega-event. ...
... One of the main aspects of the mega-events is the media attention they have from the very beginning when the rights of hosting are awarded to a city or a nation. Horne (2) states that sports mega-events have a strategic role in contemporary society, influenced by capitalism. Through these events, countries are looking forward to promoting their image in the international arena. ...
... They are all part of the ordinary imaginary people usually have when they think of Brazil. More words related to the carnival, party, and festival give us the idea people seen the country as a state of happiness and joyfestival (4), music (4), dance (3), happy people (2). Although many positive words have been cited, the respondents presented some negative ideas: corruption (3), crime (2), danger (2), politics (2), and bitches (1). ...
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Background. This paper investigates how hosting a mega sports event such as the 2016 Rio Games – Olympic and Paralympic influence the Rio de Janeiro and Brazil image’ like popular destinations among tourists. Objectives. The following hypotheses guided our research to identify the more positive image of Brazil as a tourism destination. Methods. A mixed research design combining both qualitative and quantitative approaches was used. Participants were recruited at the Technische Universität München and in the city center of Munich, Germany. The two dimensions (cognitive and affective) of the tourism destination image were considered to elaborate a questionnaire survey, which mixes both qualitative and quantitative methods. Results. The significant factors influencing the intentions of a person to attend the Games in Brazil are the positive portrayed image of the country and their sport interest. According to the multiple regression conducted, the only variables, which have influenced people’s intention to go to Brazil for the Olympics, were the image of the country as a tourism destination (β = 0.404, p < 0.05) and sports interests (β = 0.259, p < 0.05). The same influence of these variables was observed when the independent variable is the intention to go for the Paralympics: an image of Brazil as a tourism destination (β = 0.377, p < 0.05) and sports interest (β = 0.205, p < 0.05) have influenced respondent's intention. Conclusions. Furthermore, the study revealed the hosting of the Olympic Games had a more considerable influence on a person’s intentions to visit the country than the hosting of Paralympic Games. It was also observed that the media played a significant aspect in the construction of an opinion on a tourism route. Also, a semantic analysis presented a different image’ of the country, even when the intention to attend the Olympics was low.
... Another common way of discussing events is by their content. Often it is the distinction between sports and non-sports events (which mostly are cultural, religious, business or political) that make a difference in the way these events unfold (Horne & Manzenreiter, 2006;Horne, 2012). Due to their character, most mega-events such as the Olympics or various world cup championships are continuously covered during their running periods but sometimes are also done so in the preparation and wind-down phases. ...
... Moreover, it displaced vital daily activities of the locals from this public infrastructure. The case from Baku represents echoing pattern from the literature discussing the problems of exceptionality, democracy, and participation related to the mega-event organization (Broudehoux, 2011;Foley, McGillivray, & McPherson, 2011;Hayes & Karamichas, 2011;Horne, 2012;Bajc, 2016). This case proves again what Karamichas and Hayes rightly argue in their recent work that "corporate profit and effective delivery are valued more highly in event hosting than the values of participatory democracy or social justice" (Hayes & Karamichas, 2011, p. 21). ...
Thesis
Mega-events are large-scale cultural, political, religious or sporting events of mass media appeal and international significance. They are typically temporary affairs yet have permanent and costly outcomes. They have also become valuable tools for multi-layered processes of urban transformation. Mega-events are frequently presented by governments as an extraordinary opportunity for their host cities and are often realized through the temporary suspension of judicial laws, or through an imposition of the exceptional regulations. Urban projects, with tangible and intangible outcomes (such as new laws and infrastructure) which for decades have experienced problems with implementation, may be realized in this mega-event environment while other urban development projects get delayed, reduced in scope, or abandoned. These processes often undermine democratic decision-making and have an impact beyond the temporary event time frame and site-specific location. Through three case studies located in Glasgow (Scotland), Baku (Azerbaijan), and Tbilisi (Georgia) this dissertation investigates the various ways of deploying, using and justifying the legal practices of exception in relation to mega-events, as well as their impacts on different groups and spaces in host cities. [for a full text send a direct message]
... There are impacts that can offer legacies for citizens, but the often vested interests of the political sphere cannot be forgotten and can 'often be minimised in order to not compromise the event. 16 In an outlook specific to sporting mega-events, Horne 17 considers that these events are central and strategic elements in modern capitalist societies. By hosting mega-events, countries seek international recognition and therefore sporting mega-events constitute a "central element" in societies. ...
... Horne 16 points out two major defining characteristics of contemporary mega-events. The first is related to the social, political and economic benefits that are to be paid to the city or the host country. ...
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This paper investigates how the legacy of the 2016 Paralympic Games, in Rio de Janeiro, has been discussed on the Facebook page 'Cidade Olímpica.' The City Council of Rio De Janeiro manages this page, which uses the Sport-For-Development discourse in order to disclose information about projects that are being developed in the city, and to justify the investments that are made with public money. Furthermore, the main objective of this paper is to identify whether the Sport-For-Development discourse has been used to discuss the legacies for disabled people. This study was developed during the 2014 FIFA World Cup because it was during that period that the Brazilian government released details of some of the main projects for the Olympics and then presented the great planned impacts of these legacies. The season of that mega event was important for the country in order to promote Brazil as a strong brand for tourism and sport for development. Consequentially, this period represented an opportunity to address the Paralympic legacy topic, similar to the entire legacy of the Games and their impacts on society.
... The involvement of residents/citizens/taxpayers is formalized in "consultation" and "citizen participation" apparatuses aimed at inventing modalities of co-production and building a deliberative democracy (Koebel, 2017). Yet, the great number of uncertainties surrounding these bids (Horne, 2012) justifies caution, suspicion and opposition, as well as many questions as to the benefits of the OPG as a societal project. ...
Article
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While Olympic bids were for a long time diplomatic and strategic decisions taken in a very narrow circle of sport, political and economic stakeholders recently, new forms of grassroots participation and citizens’ efforts have arisen, striving to influence the orientation of the projects. This article examines the socio-political construction of protest fronts against the 2024 Olympic bids in Europe through a qualitative study of four cities: Paris (France), Rome (Italy), Hamburg (Germany) and Budapest (Hungary). Findings show that the bids (supported or challenged) essentially serve local political strategies. Mainly, opponents seem to be able to achieve their goals only if they rely on advocacy coalitions based on multiple actors and organizations which give them an access to strategic resources such as political networks or traditional media. Although the repertoire of action is similar -and in some ways standardized -across all the bids, it seems that the determinants of contestation are profoundly contextual, according to local political spaces and conjunctures.
... The success of hosting a sports mega-event in any city, however, whether in the Global North or South, is symbiotically linked to the quality and quan tity of the media coverage that goes with it Horne, 2012), which makes that coverage an important area for continued and detailed scrutiny. Especially, perhaps, a continued focus on the executives and producers who construct the meanings within that media, from cultural, political economic, and sociological perspectives. ...
... In this way urban sites are (socially, economically, aesthetically) deterritorialised from their spatio-temporal complexity and reterritorialised into the flow of circulation, valorisation, accumulation, and financial speculation, well before the ME process begin. The capitalist process of 'creative destruction' seemingly find in the ME its sublimation: destruction, occurring via 'the destabilization of extant social relationships, institutions, and structural arrangements'; and creation, occurring by rebranding of the urban space into a secured spectacle of consumption (Gotham, 2016;Horne, 2012;Boycoff, 2013). Though this veritable rite de passage, as per Van Gennep's classic formulation, space is symbolically, socio-economically, and physically translated -and indeed de-politicised -into a 'neutral territory', a liminal zone of contingency pregnant with (economical and financial) potentialities. ...
Chapter
This chapter explores liminality vis-à-vis mega-events (MEs) and neoliberal urbanisation, proposing MEs as opening a liminality which remains un-experienced. MEs are not simply phenomenologically liminoid but ontologically liminal space-times through which neoliberal urbanisation contradictorily occurs: consistent with Jameson’s definition of modernity as a disjunction between experience and abstraction. Not the confusing experience of a liquefaction that is not dialectically resolved into order then (cf. Szakolczai), modern liminality should be understood as the aesthetic fracture between experience and the forces that order the conditions of experience itself. Critiquing urban capitalism must be completed by an eminently aesthetic perspective: not the romantic attempt to restore an authentic experience of communitas against neoliberal eventification, but of making experienceable, those phenomena which shape our being in the world.
... Official discourses of legacy have material effects on how people criticise the Games. Recent critical accounts of sporting mega-events respond to the constructs found in official literature, and in doing so re-iterate the presupposed fixed identities that policy imply (Horne, 2011;Paton et al., 2012). Such "critiques of domination based on presumed 'dominated' identities pre-empt the very possibility for equality that such critiques are supposed to open up" (Pelletier, 2009, p. 10). ...
Article
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It seems with the ever more complex instituting of aggressive neoliberal renewal policies comes an intensified effort to use the language of consensus and civic unity. The post-political debate frames this discussion, and it is from this perspective that we propose a fuller consideration of urban renewal policy, and how these forces are embedded within the narrowing of what has been called the ‘properly political’. In bringing together accounts of the dynamic political life of communities and groups of interest who are confronting urban renewal policy in Glasgow, we make a case for recognising an intensification of political articulation, position-taking and action. This recognition comes in response to the argument that we are currently experiencing a post-political consensus and that democracy has been annulled in the process. We see evidence of a Polanyian ‘double movement’ in which the construction of consensual publics is such a marked characteristic across different accounts, and how this appears to have opened up new critical spaces of debate and action within the various communities of interest. We therefore openly question the post-political as a condition, or a process, which seemingly unfolds unimpeded. We fear that ‘post-political’ runs the risk of becoming a citational practice, that through repetition of the term, a narrowing of political articulation and action within the debate starts to occur. Our case studies aim to highlight the blind spots of the post-political debate by focusing on the actually existing spaces of political articulation and position-taking apparent in Glasgow.
... The notion of legacy is closely linked to the impact made by these transformations on infrastructure, economy and lived experiences of populations in MEs locales. While transformations to sociocultural infrastructures and host locales' image are commonly identified as an important aspect of MEs legacy, harnessing the potential of MEs that moves beyond economic interests is relatively new (Hayes and Karamichas, 2012;Horne, 2012). Therefore, attempts to unpack the key cultural change processes that can be triggered by MEs have been limited. ...
... Official discourses of legacy have material effects on how people criticise the Games. Recent critical accounts of sporting mega-events respond to the constructs found in official literature, and in doing so re-iterate the presupposed fixed identities that policy imply (Horne, 2011;Paton et al., 2012). Such "critiques of domination based on presumed 'dominated' identities pre-empt the very possibility for equality that such critiques are supposed to open up" (Pelletier, 2009, p. 10). ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper examines the problems of locating political subjectivity in the midst of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games of 2014 and takes as its starting point Rancière's contention that politics cannot be defined on the basis of any pre-existing subject. The Commonwealth Games, as both policy vehicle and a form of knowing the world, constructs subjects through the invocation of ‘legacy’. This involves assuming a consensual populism within which social problems are identified and rectified through the eventfulness of the event. However, leading on from Rancière's contention above, this paper suggests a critical perspective where the event itself is de-centred in order to move beyond the citational response to mega-events: that policy constructs subjugated subjects. The paper proceeds by examining how the logics of local residents of East Glasgow elude subjugation in their encounters with the official discourses of the mega-event. It outlines the ways that political subjectivity is brought forth in two discursive spaces: first, within Games Legacy Evaluation Reports. Second, a public meeting organised by Glasgow City Council as part of their Get Ready Glasgow series. These spaces are considered alongside recent academic criticism that focuses on the corrective elements of social policy relating to sporting mega events.
... Covering the Soccerex global business convention in Rio de Janeiro in 2011 BBC business reporter Will Smale (2011) noted: 'listen to any Brazilian official talking about their country hosting the 2014 World Cup and the word they all use is "legacy"'. For many observers of the World Cup, the Olympic Games and other sports mega-events, legacy is an essentially contested concept and practice (MacAloon, 2008;Horne, 2012). ...
Chapter
There is a burgeoning literature about sports mega-events, such as the FIFA Men’s Football World Cup Finals (hereafter Football World Cup or World Cup) and the Olympic Games, and the notion of legacy. For the purposes of this chapter I will refer to two distinctions with respect to legacies — that they can be tangible and intangible, and also universal and selective. It is well established that legacies can be tangible, that is related to, for example, changes in some way to the material infrastructure or economic performance, and intangible, that is related to, for example, emotional responses to a mega-event whether individual or collective (Preuss, 2007). A second distinction I want to suggest when thinking about legacy is that legacies can be selective and universal. By this distinction I mean the following. Selective legacies are particular, individualist and elitist, and tend to serve the interests of those dominating powerful political and economic positions in society. Universal legacies are communal, collectivist and inherently democratic, available to all by virtue of being made freely accessible. A problem for sports mega-events is that they largely generate tangible legacies that are selective and intangible legacies that are universal. I will return to this distinction in the conclusion.
Book
How does order emerge out of the multiplicity of bodies, objects, ideas and practices that constitute the urban? This book explores the relation between space, law and control in the contemporary city - and particularly in the context of urban 'mega events' - through a combined geographical and normative analysis. Informed by the recent spatial, affective and material 'turns' in the humanities and social sciences, Andrea Pavoni addresses this question by pursuing an innovative and trans-disciplinary approach, capable of accounting for the emergence of order in urban space both at the conceptual and empirical levels. Two overarching objectives are pursued. First, to account for the increasing convergence of logics, techniques and technologies of law, security and marketing into novel, potentially oppressive spatial configurations. Second, to envisage a consistent ethico-political strategy to counter this evolution, by rethinking originally and in radically spatial terms the notion of justice. Forging a sophisticated and original analysis, this book offers an analysis that will be of considerable interest to those working in critical urban geography, critical legal studies, critical event studies, surveillance and control studies.
Article
This paper addresses the dialectic between mega events (MEs) and the city, and especially the frictions generated by their encounter, which the current wave of protest and resistance to MEs provides with both a significant expression as well as a locus for conceptual and empirical exploration. First, I introduce the argument by looking at the spatiality of neoliberal capitalism through the abstract form of the urban it presupposes and the concrete affective, material and atmospheric assemblages through which it is actualized in the contemporary city – a process, I argue, which is always problematized by frictions, conflicts and contradictions. Second, I situate this discussion vis-à-vis what Jacob (2013) terms the eventification of urban space and particularly the peculiar contradiction it expresses: namely, that urban space increasingly becomes the locus of both the production and prevention of events – a contradiction whose effects can be most cogently observed in the current erosion of the right to protest in the contemporary city. Third, I introduce the ME as the site in which this dialectic and its contradictions are most forcefully expressed. MEs are the quintessential urban event, at the same time an intense generation of urban ‘effervescence’ (Durkheim, Emile. 2008. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. Oxford University Press), and an apparatus aimed at channelling such effervescence into safe and capitalizable expressions. However, this process of ‘controlled decontrolling’ [Elias and Dunning. 1971. ‘Leisure in the Sparetime Spectrum’. In Sociology of Sport, edited by R. Albonic and K. Pfister-Binz. Birkhäuser] is always disjointed by the urban contingency in which it takes place, unintentionally producing frictions that are fraught with political potential. If the notion of legacy, as I suggest, is what cements the late interspersion between MEs and capitalist urbanization, then deconstructing legacy could provide a fresh perspective to explore the relation among MEs, urban space and resistance. Therefore, fourth, I introduce the concept of ‘resistant legacies’, whereby I propose to address conceptually and empirically the frictions produced by MEs and the impact and legacy they may leave on the social, affective and normative fabric of the city, by suggesting the current wave of ME protests as a promising site for this exploration. Finally, I conclude with some methodological suggestions for future research. © 2015 Australia and New Zealand Association of Leisure Studies
Chapter
The Football World Cup is one of the biggest global sporting events. Along with the Summer Olympic Games, the Football World Cup can be truly called a mega-sport event. Both events attract billions of dollars in broadcast and sponsorship contracts and attract millions of spectators every four years when the events are staged. Nations and cities around the world desperately seek to host both events. By doing so host nations and cities often justify the multi-billion dollar investment required to stage these events on economic development grounds with stated benefits to emerge from urban renewal, transport infrastructure and tourism development (Cashman & Horne, 2013). Given the size of the Football World Cup and its economic impact it is surprising that this book is the first attempt to bring leading international mega-sport event researchers together to examine the management and organizational components of the event. This book follows in the same path as our recent publication, Managing the Olympics, in exploring areas often overlooked by project management and business studies researchers (Frawley & Adair, 2013). Therefore, considering the global impact of the Football World Cup, it is time for a detailed examination of the planning, organization, management, implementation and related commercial features of this mega-sport event.
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