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Sports Mega-Events and States' Soft Power Strategies
Sports scholars and academics Jonathan Grix, from the University of Birmingham, and Paul Michael Brannagan and Barrie Houlihan, from Loughborough University, all located within the U.K., have published a new article. Their piece, Interrogating States’ Soft Power Strategies: A Case Study of Sports Mega-Events in Brazil and the UK, appeared in the June 2015 issue of Global Society. The article evaluates and assesses how and why governments are leveraging sports mega-events, including the 2012 London Olympics; the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Brazil; and the forthcoming 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, to bolster their nation-brand and foreign policy strategies. The authors conclude that while the benefits of hosting such mega-events are "overstated, over-inflated and under-researched," these mega-events can and do form a "litmus test" for international public opinion. As such, the authors observe that unless governments understand the soft power mechanisms behind sports mega-events, these same events can backfire, resulting in "soft disempowerment."
The full article is available here.