Comparing South Africa's hosting of the rugby and cricket world cup: lessons for the 2010 football world cup and beyond
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This paper compares South Africa's hosting of the two largest mega-events hosted by it up to date, the 1995 Rugby World Cup and the 2003 Cricket World Cup. By comparing these two mega-events, it is hoped to learn lessons for South Africa's hosting of the 2010 Football World Cup, but also for developing nations hosting of mega-events in general. Although nations habitually put forward the 'hard', tangible benefits that such events are likely to bring as justification for hosting them, not many analyses have sought to explore the processes through which the more elusive benefits are said to accrue, namely, the identity formation and signalling aspects on the one hand, and the democracy and human rights enhancing aspects on the other. Through this analysis it is demonstrated how South Africa has traditionally drawn from the realm of politics as its moral authority for hosting such events, yet the folding of the overtly political into the sporting arena has sometimes led to unintended consequences. South Africa has also become much more business-like in its approach to mega-events. Whereas the Rugby and Cricket World Cups were steeped in the symbolic importance of an `imagined community?, these sentiments are likely to become diluted in the face of a more consumerist global football milieu and the powerful role of FIFA in deciding who gets what, when and where.