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Essay: The impact of mega sports-events on the soft power of BRICs

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  • Subject area(s): Geography essays
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  • Published: 22 September 2015*
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My essay analyses the impacts of mega sports-events on the soft power of the BRICS, which stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Hosting of these mega sports-events gives countries a chance to enhance their public diplomacy and to strengthen their stance in the international system. According to Maurice Roche a mega sport event is a ‘large-scale cultural (including commercial and sporting) events which have a dramatic character, mass popular appeal and international significance’ (Mega-events & modernity 2000)
Many of the BRICS countries have succeeded in the bidding process for hosting the various Mega sports-events like the World cup or the famous Olympic games, this has changed the mind set of the people that only developed countries can host such events, and thus signifying the emergence of new world powers. Developing countries are readily taking up this opportunity of hosting mega sports events. There is great competition between all the countries, whether developed or developing countries for hosting these mega sports-events. It can be clearly seen that hosting these mega sports events gives the host country a number of benefits and opportunity to expand its activities from a regional level to a global platform, and thereby enhance its image in the international scenario. The main features of hosting mega sport-events are its ability to attract audience from all over the world and its socio-economic impact on the hosts, allowing the host nation to project images of its culture and social organization through these events in addition to its political and economic power. The cost of hosting, organizing and setting up various requisites of a mega sports event can be really high, but its gives the host of showcase its ability in the global scenario and also uplift its global image. Many BRICS countries have hosted a number of mega sports events, for example the summer Olympics in Moscow in 1980, the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing, 1950 FIFA World cup in Brazil and the 2014 FIFA World cup in Brazil. Even India hosted the commonwealth games in 2010. It can be clearly seen that every BRICS nations has hosted at least one of these mega sports-events in the last ten years. This is indicates the preferences shifting from the G-7 nations which includes the Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States to the five BRICS countries.
According to me hosting these mega sport-events like the Olympics and the Football World cup does have positive impacts on the soft powers of a country. To show this we first need to understand what soft power is. Nye defined soft power as ‘the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than through coercion.’ He also noted that soft power ‘could be developed through relations with allies, economic assistance, and cultural exchanges.’ He argued that this would result in ‘a more favorable public opinion and credibility abroad.’ Nye states that power is the ability to influence the behavior of others to accomplish the outcomes one wants. Soft power is different from hard power; hard power is the use of military and economic might to make others change their position, while soft power mainly concerned with changing the opinion of the other states by persuasion and attraction. (Tysha Bohorquez, 2005). According to Nye, culture, institutions and values are more important in maintaining interstate relations rather than the use of military power. Therefore the main idea of using soft power is in its ability to impress the people of other nations using its cultural values rather than coercive powers.it is also important to note that Nye advocated the use of both soft power and hard power side by side. A combination of the two shall be a perfect strategy of any nation
The BRICS nations by hosting international sporting events, they can show the world that they are too accept and follow universal norms and by doing so they can improve they global image, portraying fair play and also by following the international norm will improve their status. Thus by hosting these mega events they can influence their image in the minds of other nations and thereby use it as a diplomatic policy to enhance their global image. As Qobo has mentioned this is a good way to improve their image as the domestic conditions of the all the BRICS nations, namely Brazil, Russia , China, India and South Africa are not very appealing therefore by hosting these mega sports events they can try to increase their soft power ability. (M Qobo, 2013) It is also important to not that mega sport-events like the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup and large scale events and have a large audience all over the world therefore it is a huge platform for these BRICS nations to use it for increasing the global impact of their soft powers.it is also very important to not that hosting these events is not the only thing that will help a nation improve its soft powers but also a number of other factors. But hosting a mega sport-event can definitely positively impact the soft powers of a nation.

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