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World Cup: Good for diplomacy, good for business


World Cup: Good for diplomacy, good for business

Sport has long been used as a political platform for diplomatic relations in underdeveloped countries. Stefano and Patricia Miraglia argue that hosting events such as the World Cup serves as an example of uniting governments, nations, fans and players.

With budding diplomatic relations that develop between nations through sports come the associated benefits of generating and sustaining local economies.

If diplomacy reinforces economies in underdeveloped regimes, what are some lasting effects on those regimes such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and levels of democratisation? A comparative analysis of recent World Cup locations provides insight into how sports have lasting effects on local economies and governments.

Ever since the first World Cup in Uruguay in 1930, FIFA has selected World Cup locations according to stadium accommodations and other factors such as potential profit making.

Aside from the potential profit for FIFA and other football federations, the associated benefits for the hosting country range from effects on GDP to the level of democratisation.

Table 1 presents descriptive analysis of the five most recent World Cup locations (1998-2014) and their associated GDP and democracy ranking. Analysis shows that host countries generally experience a growth in GDP after hosting a World Cup event.

For example, South Africa experienced a 29% increase in GDP during their hosting of the World Cup in 2010, and continued to experience an increase in GDP (10.6%) a year after acting as a host country.

The analysis suggests that hosting major sporting events such as the World Cup matters to improving a country’s economy and democracy ranking (South Africa was an exception when it comes to democracy ranking).

It is apparent that major sporting events not only improve a country’s diplomatic standing among other states, but also have overall positive improvements on local economies and levels of democracy.

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team]


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P.A. Pizzano-Miraglia (Santa Clara University), Stefano M. Miraglia (University of Nevada, Reno)


Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - 23:00