Fifa-isation: Spatial security, sponsor protection and media management at the 2010 World Cup

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Surveillance and Society, 2014, 11 (4), pp. 377 - 391
Issue Date:
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This paper presents a case-study of spatial brand protection and media management and security strategies at the 2010 Football World Cup (FWC) in South Africa (RSA). This focus stems from the realisation that commercially designated event spaces are very important environments for the interests of FWC sponsors, and that the media has a pivotal role in conveying messages about desirable conduct in such environments. In these respects, stakeholder organisations are concerned about safeguarding core event spaces, and with promoting positive messages about the FWC via the media. The paper therefore investigates the interests of key stakeholders at the 2010 FWC: the event owner Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the FWC sponsors and the host city (Cape Town). It is concerned with identifying various surveillance strategies to manage public spaces at the FWC, albeit with a particular emphasis on protecting the interests of sponsors and their brand integrity. It is also concerned with strategies to manage the media at the FWC, with a particular emphasis on how FIFA stymies dissent and forces compliance among reporters and news outlets that undermine critical surveillance into these practices of spatial management. Taken together, these hyper-protectionist approaches demonstrate what we have described as the FIFA-isation of the FWC, where commercial risk is outsourced to the event host, while the commercial benefits flow back to the event owner. Concomitantly, FIFA makes enormous surveillance demands on the event hosts and those residing in the country and city where it is to be held, and upon the media that broadcast and report on the world's biggest sports mega events. © The author(s), 2014.
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