Mega-Legacy: An Evaluation of Mega Sporting Events and Their Organizers


Ever wondered what happens when the World Cup or the Olympics leave town? Its not always a pretty story. 

Massive international sporting events like the Olympics and the World Cup, called mega-sporting events (MSEs), have potential for positive economic and social development. In some cases, like the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, this potential was realized. However, positive impacts cannot be taken for granted. The 2004 Athens Olympics and the 2014 Brazil World Cup serve as cautionary tales—MSEs have just as much potential to harm host nations than to help them.

This white paper seeks to explore the legacies of past MSEs from an economic and social standpoint as a means to define standards for maximizing the economic and social impact of future events. As major international organizations with seemingly endless resources and power, MSE organizers—the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)—bear the responsibility for delivering beneficial legacies. Currently, the IOC and FIFA’s policies for conducting research on potential host nations are dubious and often corrupted by potential business interests. In light of these shortcomings, this white paper suggests that the IOC and FIFA involve the citizens of potential host nations in the bid process, create strict guidelines for long-term impact after MSEs leave town and reimburse host nations for the cost of MSE-related infrastructure.




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