Contested Worlds and a New Order After the End of the Cold War

The Scramble for Mega Sporting Event Hosting Rights as a Visualization of the New Balance of Power

Seminar Paper, 2015

26 Pages, Grade: 1,0


Table of Contents

List of Figures


1 Introduction

2 Methodology

3 The Thematic Framework
3.1 Post-Cold War World Order
3.2 The Background and Meaning of Mega Sporting Events
3.3 The Associations of the Football World Championship and the Olympic Games: The FIFA and the IOC

4 Theoretical Perspective – A Summary of Peter Vujakovic’s Text

5 Connection between Theory and Practice: The Analysis of the Selection of Host Countries
5.1 During Cold War: 1960 – 1990
5.2 Post-Cold War: 1992 – 2022
5.3 Key Findings

6 Conclusion


List of Figures

Figure 1: Most popular sport in each country. Green: Football / Soccer

Figure 2: FIFA confederations

Figure 3: Venues of the Football World Cup during the Cold War

Figure 4: Venues of the Summer Games during the Cold War

Figure 5: Venues of the Winter Games during the Cold War

Figure 6: All mega sporting events during the Cold War

Figure 7: Venues of the Football World Cup after the Cold War

Figure 8: Venues of the Summer Games after the Cold War

Figure 9: Venues of the Winter Games after the Cold War

Figure 10: All mega sporting events after the Cold War

Figure 11: Comparison of all mega sporting events post-Cold War / during the Cold War


This case study addresses to the task of visualizing and describing the shifts in global politics by comparing two time periods, the Cold War and the post-Cold War era. The entirely new approach uses the awarding of mega sporting events hosting rights as an allegory for the political importance of a country: The more organizations a country is selected for, the more powerful is the relative voice on global level of politics. The most substantial argument in favor of this simplifying method is constituted in the easy and prompt access to the data due to visualizing maps. Moreover, classifying results of several countries, made by Peter Vujakovic in 2005, will be compared to the interpretation of my results. With the help of this comprehensible approach you can see the topic from a different angle, and it helps to forecast the prospective development of global proportion of power. As a base, the literature research deals with an analysis of the world order during the Cold War and the shifts after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The illustration of the meaning and the background of mega sporting events completes the theoretical part. For sure, such a new methodology is susceptible to criticism, which is why I limit myself to only the central issues. Nevertheless it is a pragmatic access to a heavily manageable issue.


It is well known to almost everyone to find a new (political) world order after the collapse of the Soviet Union (SU), the so-called post-Cold War order. The obvious bi-polar world went on an unclear and confused path, on which it seems to be hard to define the world’s hierarchy as unipolar, bi-polar or even multi-polar. Actually we feel the competition for a better position in the global political power structure: Almost every conflict (war-like or diplomatic) is guided by the idea to improve the own position. The media serves us an extraction of these topics: The Ukraine crisis, China’s land-grabbing in Africa, or even the FIFA corruption scandal. Also in the academic world, we find a huge amount of describing, analyzing and evaluating labors in different perspectives – some selected approaches will be part of the theoretical part of this case study (chapter 3.1). The central and originally injecting theoretical source constitutes the 5th chapter of Martin Philipp’s book “Contested Worlds – An Introduction to Human Geography”: “Nation States and Super-States: The Geopolitics of the New World Order”. Its content will be shortly presented in chapter 4.

In the centerpiece of my work I want to demonstrate an entirely new approach to show the world order and its changes over the decades. By visualizing the selection of host countries of mega sporting events during the Cold War (chapter 5.1), compared to the post-Cold War world (chapter 5.2) it is provable that the global power situation has changed. With this method I will show in which way the proportion of power has shifted – relevant key-findings will be presented in chapter 5.3.

As a base, the following assumption are taken for granted: The hosting right is a matter of particular interest of every country and continent which is able to afford the protracted and cost-intensive organization. In return, the host receives a lot of attention in the global media, it shows that the country represents a dependable partner and – maybe the most important detail – it improves the population’s pride to live in this region.

I want to slip in some questions which should be answered at the end of this work: Which kind of post-Cold War order do we actually find (and will be found in future) – unipolar, still bi-polar or even multi-polar (see chapter 3.2)? Preconditioned that the United States (U.S.) represents the current leader of the post-Cold War world order, which aspects could be chosen to evaluate the strength and competitiveness of potential challengers of the U.S. (see chapter 4)? How did the global proportion of power change, which countries did lose and which countries gained influence (see chapter 5.3)? As an answer and a thesis statement: Yes, global proportion of power has changed in favor of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa): Today their influence is higher than during the Cold War!


To visualize a shift in world order, I decided to choose the scramble for three selected mega sporting events over 62 years (1960-2022) as an indicator. The men’s Football World Cup, the Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics are the most popular mega sporting events with redistributed venues by far. I only found authoritative data about the number of viewers on a national level to strengthen this statement. However, in my opinion it isn’t necessary to rank mega sporting events in a strict order of number of viewers, as the image of arranging them has a higher and more sustainable value (see chapter 1). The assumption that an assigned hosting right represents a desirable honor, as the positive aspects predominate the negative ones, can definitely took for granted. Chapter 3.2 gives some more information about the historical meaning of mega sporting events.

At first it is necessary to find out the venue of the past and also the planned events. Therefore the web sites of the particular federations enabled an easy attainable access to this fundamental information. In the next step I transferred the data into a dedicated Excel-file for a better overview (see the tables in chapter 6.1 and 6.2). To achieve the goal of a visualized result, the crucial measure was the generation of world maps, in which you can see the number of hosted mega sporting events during the particular time period: 1960-1990: Cold War and 1992-2022: post-Cold War. Thus the following maps were generated:

(1) Football World Cup (Cold War)
(2) Football World Cup (Post-Cold War)
(3) Summer Olympics (Cold War)
(4) Summer Olympics (Post-Cold War)
(5) Winter Olympics (Cold War)
(6) Winter Olympics (Post-Cold War)
(7) Total: All Mega Sporting Events (Cold War)
(8) Total: All Mega Sporting Events (Post-Cold War)

Due to the comparison of the two time periods, it is easy to show the change in global proportion of power. Mainly the maps (7) and (8) visualize this shift.

The application of this method can’t be completely representative for the current world order. Some countries are more interested in arranging mega sporting events than others, e.g. due to cultural reasons, such as a particular sport being unpopular in a particular country. Furthermore, individual economically and politically ascending countries could have a strategic plan in which the hosting right of mega sporting event is less important or even irrelevant.

My analysis starts in 1960 and contains 16, respectively 17 venues, so the events typically take place every four years. In addition the granting of the hosting right happens several years before the event, which is why the evaluation doesn’t reflect exactly today’s situation, but at least a tendency. Moreover the number of cases is too little to describe the shift statistically correct. Economics of scale reduce the individual costs (and thereby the hurdle for applying) by organizing two mega sporting events simultaneously – e.g. the Football World Cup and the Summer Olympics – as the stadiums built for the first event can be used again for the second event. Therefore, such an accumulation has to be viewed separately in the key-findings (chapter 5.3).

This method ignores the influences on the bulk of all countries as just a few countries are able to organize such an event. However this can’t be a critique for the approach, because the conception focuses on the dominating countries of the world order.

Moreover it doesn’t play a role in which way the countries have been awarded the funding for the hosting right as there are two imaginable processes: The official candidature persuaded the particular association – the FIFA or the IOC – of the good concept on the one hand, or the applicant bought the required votes from corrupted members with kickbacks on the other hand. Presumably in most cases either aspects influence the decision, but somehow or other the applying country gave proof of its strength if the candidature would be successful. Then we can take it for granted that outsiders won’t find out the decisive aspects of awarding the hosting right.

During this chapter, it became clear that the applied approach is a bit vulnerable against constructive criticism but in my opinion it represents a pragmatic possibility to visualize an intricate and heavy manageable issue by using a plain access to it.

The Thematic Framework

To facilitate a correct embedment, the following chapter provides a theoretical frame. At first I’ll present a short overview of some selected theoretical approaches which deal with the post-Cold War order and its (expected) development (chapter 3.1). Next I’ll focus upon the mega sporting events: The historical meaning and importance of these events itself (chapter 3.2) will be complemented by a short introduction of the associations of the Football World Cup (FIFA) and of the Olympic Games (IOC) (chapter 3.3).

3.1 Post-Cold War World Order

The rapid and unexpected changes in world politics since 1989 were to be far-reaching for the post-Cold War world order. During the conflict between East and West, the economic and political framework was quite stable, so the transformation afterwards was chaotic and unclear – even if it passed mostly peaceful – as the sense of mission and ideology got lost (Cronin 1996, p. 238). The capitalism as the western mode of thought prevailed and according to Marx and Schumpeter it was the first truly revolutionary mode of production (ibid., p. 242). Western Europe and Japan rebuilt their economies and began to catch-up with the U.S. It is usually written that the U.S. came off as winner, while SU lost the conflict (e.g. ibid., p. 242-243; Goldgeier & McFaul, p. 1-2). Thus the four decades lasting bi-polar world changed into a unipolar system: “The American victory seemed to herald Pax Americana and a new era of global stability” (Muehlbauer & Ulbrich 2014, p.482). Further aspects will be presented in chapter 4.

There’s no doubt that hundreds and thousands of pages could be filled with discussions about the question, if U.S. came out ahead or not, and if U.S. was or is still leading the world order. Preliminary I adopt the position accepting the leading position of the U.S. as Peter Vujakovic does it as well (see chapter 4). The focus of my case study is on the general shift of global political power structure and the visualization of falling and raising players and potential challengers. Therefore I would like to introduce into the mega sporting events, the meaning of the hosting right and its background.


Today, football is the most popular sport in the world (fig. 1) and even in countries with other favorites, the interest is growing. Therefore the annual pre-season trip of the most important European clubs to future merchandising markets like China or Arabia and the local enthusiasm are a good indicator. According to FIFA, about 3.2 billion people (roughly 46% of the global population) watched at least one minute of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa which reached 214 territories (KANTARSPORT 2010, p. 7). This is slightly lower than the number of people (3.6 billion in over 220 territories) who watched at least one minute of the 2012 London Olympics (IOC 2012, p. 4). Almost one billion people saw at least one minute

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 1: Most popular sport in each country. Green: Football / Soccer

Source: VOX TOPICS, confirmed by several other sources.

of the World Cup final (KANTARSPORT, p. 7) and the London Olympics’ opening ceremonies (IOC 2012, p. 4). These facts underline the current meaning of mega sporting events.

In a historical view, as in a time without today’s extensive broadcasting possibilities, sporting events were playing an important role, as well. Locally, it has ever been a place with great social potential (CLOSE & ASKEW & XIN 2007, p. 1). The old Romans and Greeks were used to visit spectacular sporting events, where they cheered the athletes and amused themselves – it was simply part of their culture (cf. CLOSE & ASKEW & XIN 2007, p. 44-45).

From an economical point, the framework of arranging mega sporting events has completely changed. There has been a dramatic increase in the cost of organizing the Olympics: For the 1960 Rome Summer Games, US$ 50 million was spent on “public works”, while later events were a lot more expansive: 1972 Munich (US$ 850 million), 1976 Montreal (US$ 1.5 billion) and 1980 Moscow (much more than US$ 2 billion); and these additional costs couldn’t be compensated in every case (CLOSE & ASKEW & XIN 2007, p. 10). The cost effectiveness doesn’t have the first priority as the others aspects predominate: Causing a stir, proving its reliability and pride of the population. The scramble for mega sporting events seems to be a crystallization of the growing competition between cities, countries and continents (SHORT 2003, p. 1).


This chapter serves as a short introduction into the basic data of the 2 associations which award the hosting right of the mega sport events. Hereby I want to show the official award procedure as well. All information comes from the respective web site.

The FIFA (French: Fédération Internationale de Football Association) was founded in 1904 in Paris and is based in Zurich (Switzerland). Currently 209 national football associations have signed the membership, whereby they are authorized to participate to the qualifiers, e.g. for the World Cup (FIFA 2015a). These national associations are consolidated in 6 confederations (see fig. 2).


Excerpt out of 26 pages


Contested Worlds and a New Order After the End of the Cold War
The Scramble for Mega Sporting Event Hosting Rights as a Visualization of the New Balance of Power
University of Tubingen
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
Post-Cold War Order, Mega sporting events, Olympic Games, Football World Championchip, IOC, FIFA, Peter Vujakovic, BRICS
Quote paper
Daniel Häußler (Author), 2015, Contested Worlds and a New Order After the End of the Cold War, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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