The power of sport
This thesis seeks to understand why states continue to bid to host mega sporting events given the lack of material benefits these events have proven to produce. By examining the potential impacts that events like the FIFA World Cup and Olympic Games can have on host countries, this thesis allows for an analysis seeking to determine what states care more about: the material benefits or the potential social value these mega sporting events can provide. Chapter 1 investigates the effects mega sporting events can have on host countries’ economies, refuting claims that mega sporting events may provide significant economic benefits. Chapter 2 explores the relationship between mega sporting events and human rights, diving deep into some of the most recent events to reveal some alarming trends with regards to this relationship. Chapter 3 analyzes the impact hosting a mega sporting event can have on social and political movements in host states. This thesis concludes by arguing for a different approach to studying state behavior. Refuting the realist perspective that power motivates state behavior, this thesis underscores the importance of such factors as perception and prestige in influencing how states and their leaders behave in the international system.