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United as one: the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup hosting vision and the symbolic politics of legacy

Beissel, Adam Scott, Kohe, Geoffery Z. (2020) United as one: the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup hosting vision and the symbolic politics of legacy. Managing Sport and Leisure, . ISSN 2375-0472. E-ISSN 2375-0480. (doi:0.1080/23750472.2020.1846138) (KAR id:84134)


In June 2018 FIFA awarded the 2026 Men's Football World Cup tournament to a transnational bid comprising the United States, Canada and Mexico. We explore this moment of historical conjuncture to understand the interplay of football, SME processes, geopolitical symbolism, and legacy craft. Drawing on a critical document analysis of bid material, media reports, economic analysis, and secondary evaluation, we analyse how the United As One bid's core legacy tenets of certainty, opportunity and unity produced a complex narrative of economic, sporting, and political harmony and prosperity. We contend that while the bid employs common legacy tropes and axioms, United As One exposes the sustained fallacies implicit within bid constructions and paucity of legacy as a currency in the future of SME enterprise. Stakeholder alliances are fundamental to sport mega-event bidding. Yet, collaborations are politically complex as each party balances benefits and risks. Accordingly, this paper forewarns all bid actors to be cogniscent of the roles they may play within the symbolism and rhetoric of bid construction. Beyond the context of football, this paper adds new insights to ways sport megaevent bid visions fuse economic, socio-cultural, and public health advancement rhetoric to consolidate and masque persuasive host and legacy agendas.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 0.1080/23750472.2020.1846138
Uncontrolled keywords: FIFA World Cup, Sport Mega Events, Legacy, Symbolic Politics, United 2026
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JK Political institutions and public administration (United States)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Sport and Exercise Sciences
Depositing User: Geoffery Kohe
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2020 12:29 UTC
Last Modified: 11 May 2022 23:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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