Communicating Sport Mega-Events and the Soft Power Dimensions of Public Diplomacy
Increased international competitiveness to host sport mega-events indicates their perceived value in stimulating regional and national economic, social and cultural development. In the context of broader governmental public opinion management strategies, sport mega-events hold the potential to mobilize soft power resources of the host country, expressed in values, culture and policies, and engage with and influence the publics of other countries. This thesis investigates the significance of
... t mega-events for the host country's public diplomacy strategies and practice by exploring the concepts of public diplomacy, sport mega-events, soft power and national image within a multi-disciplinary conceptual framework. The analysis of scholarly literature, official and media reports reveals how aspects of reputation, credibility, and legitimacy guide both foreign public opinion and the practice of public diplomacy in conjunction with sport mega-events. Moreover, international reputation of the host nation, including status, prestige and image, appeared to benefit the most as a result of strategic application of sport mega-events to public diplomacy. This can be achieved by proving functional reputation though demonstration of financial and organizational success. Alternatively, social reputation of the host is at risk of sustaining considerable damage as a result of resistance from social activists groups, thus requiring extensive damage control efforts of the host country's image. The conclusions drawn from this study raise significant questions about the potential of sport mega-events being effectively used for public diplomacy and the experience of the host governments, revealing functional competence as having the greatest potential to influence public diplomacy strategy built around hosting sport mega-events.