For my white paper, I will focus on the societal and economic impact of mega sporting events like the Olympics and the World Cup. Events on such a grand scale affect millions of people and have the potential to either benefit or harm the nation that hosts them. I will argue that the large international organizations that orchestrate mega sporting events–mainly the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)–have a responsibility to conduct extensive research on their impact and accordingly enact policies that overall benefit host nations.
Since no single government oversees the IOC and FIFA, I had to look to an international government like the United Nations (UN) for my government resource. In 2003, the UN assembled a task force to explore the wide range of benefits associated with developing sporting programs. In the resulting report, titled “Sport as a Tool for Development and Peace: Towards Achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals,” the UN outlines specific economic and societal benefits. While the UN’s report does not focus directly on the impact of mega sporting events, it clearly articulates benefits and policies that can come from developing sporting programs.
Beginning with economic impacts, the UN values the global sporting sector at $36 billion and predicts 3%-5% growth annually. Although these numbers are from over a decade ago, it is important to recognize that sport is a multi billion-dollar industry. The UN emphasizes that sport-related economic activities are stimulated by implementing sustainable sporting programs at the local level, adopting a “sport for all” strategy. Successfully creating such programs will in turn provide additional employment opportunities. In Lithuania, the UN created recreation zones for all people to use free of charge that provided much-needed employment, vocational training, work experience and teaching skills. Additionally, building sport infrastructure provides opportunities for investment and long-term employment.
In terms of societal impacts, sport is incredibly powerful. It encourages social cohesion and community development as well as teaches valuable life skills such as team work and respect. Sporting programs can help break down social inequalities and are excellent development tools for youth. Instead of engaging in crime and using drugs, at-risk youth can turn to sport. Furthermore, sport encourages a healthy, active lifestyle.
Overall, the UN recommends that sporting programs be sustainable, local, inclusive and run by a well-trained staff. When FIFA and the IOC organize mega sporting events, they have the power and resources to create and stimulate sporting programs. Since both FIFA and the IOC claim to strive for a positive impact in the nations they operate in, they should consider these policies.
This source is credible. From reading the document, it is clear that the UN made the above conclusions after extensive research that spanned the globe.