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Title: A Nation on the Field, Its People on the Sidelines: Successes, Failures, and Lessons Learned from the 2010 FIFA World Cup in Cape Town
Authors: D’Onofrio, Kyra
Advisors: Centeno, Miguel
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2014
Abstract: In the past 15 years, developing countries have increasingly sought to host megaevents, envisioning these tournaments as opportunities to simultaneously fulfill a number of diverse policy objectives. However, the efficacy of these events as policy tools is questionable. This thesis examines the objectives and outcomes of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa—with a focus on the host city of Cape Town—in order to consider the likely outcomes of an international sporting mega-event and the extent to which these events are viable mechanisms for furthering social policy in developing countries. I look to the case of Cape Town to determine what forces might impede the execution of social objectives and assess what lessons policymakers in future host countries can derive from the 2010 World Cup hosting experience. In answering these questions, this study will contribute to the academic debate about the political value of mega-events, which asks if mega-events are effective instruments for promoting social development or merely tools for advancing the commercial interests of private entities and boosting the image of the state. This thesis takes a qualitative approach based on a case study of South Africa and Cape Town during the years leading up to and following the 2010 World Cup. It establishes the national and local level objectives of the event through an analysis of political rhetoric, planning documents, government strategy reports, and press clippings. It relies on scholarly work, survey data, public and private impact assessments, and newspaper articles to determine the short-term legacy outcomes of the event. Interviews with the World Cup’s primary coordinators in Cape Town and informal communication with city residents also contributed to this study’s evaluation of the goals, results, and challenges of hosting. Geospatial information system (GIS) analysis is used as well in order to evaluate the stadium placement strategy of South Africa’s three largest host cities and consider whether affluent populations benefited more from event-related development than poorer communities. Though South Africa and Cape Town had an array of motivations for hosting, the national and local government expressed a strong desire to use the event to fuel social development and better the lives of all South Africans. Despite this rhetoric, the World Cup’s organizers ultimately prioritized macro-level goals, such as improving international image, over micro-level objectives that would improve quality of life for the greatest number of residents. Based on these findings, I conclude that mega-events are unlikely vehicles for generating widespread social change. The inability of South Africa, a country with strong social motivations for hosting, to accomplish the social development goals it initially set out indicates that these events are not well suited to improving social welfare, though with great effort they may be used to this end. I contend that there are three key considerations that policymakers should be aware of before hosting: (1) mega-events cannot simultaneously accomplish diverse policy objectives; (2) the host country will not have complete control over the event; and (3) immediate benefits are only temporary, while long-term benefits may never materialize.
Extent: 138 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2016

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