CUREJ - College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal

The Cost of the Cup: A Case Study on the Political and Economic Impacts of Hosting Mega Sporting Events

George J. Avdellas, University of Pennsylvania

Division: Social Sciences

Dept/Program: Political Science

Document Type: Undergraduate Student Research

Mentor(s): Rudra Sil

Date of this Version: 01 April 2019



In the modern world, sports have become a new form of geopolitical signaling. Countries who are entrusted with hosting mega sporting events, from the Olympic Games to the World Cup are seen as capable and competent nations. For developing nations, these games can bring political legitimacy, as it shows that their respective teams can not only compete in global events, but their governments can host safe, secure, and well run events.

In this thesis, I will be examining South Africa’s process in bidding, building and hosting the 2010 World Cup and the subsequent political and economic effects. South Africa was able to leverage the World Cup, as the first African nation to host a major international sporting event, to gain not only regional signaling—as it is still the only African nation to host one of these events—but place itself in the international spotlight and gain geopolitical legitimacy through its successful event.

South Africa overall held a fairly successful World Cup, leading to recognition from both domestic and international media outlets, while creating an environment that allowed it to emerge as a key player in international organizations and elevate itself on the world stage.


Political Science

Suggested Citation

Avdellas, George J., "The Cost of the Cup: A Case Study on the Political and Economic Impacts of Hosting Mega Sporting Events" 01 April 2019. CUREJ: College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal, University of Pennsylvania,

Date Posted: 17 May 2019




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