On the 50th anniversary of the ISSA and IRSS, one of the leading international scholars on sport and consumer culture, John Horne, considers the trajectory and challenges of research on sports mega-events and their place in capitalist modernity. In anchoring work on this topic in Roche’s definition of mega-events, Horne notes that sports mega-events are important symbolic, economic, and political elements in the orientation of nations to stake their place in global society. Fundamental issues about the concept of ‘mega-event’ pose challenges for scholars as questions remain over what qualifies as a sports mega-event and how ‘lived experience’ with such events transacts with media spectacularization and characterization. The essay closes by posing broader questions for further investigation about the economic, political, and social risks and benefits of sports mega-events and how these events may portend and relate to changing relations of economic and political power on a global scale.
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