8
THE SALIENCE OF SPORT
throughout the ancient world and in pre-industrial societies as diverse as the
early Greeks and Romans, the Aztecs, the Inuit, and the Mongol horde. In
the nineteenth century, when the Duke of Wellington allegedly claimed “the
battle of Waterloo was won the playing fields of Eton”, his point was that the
discipline and character formed through engaging in sport early in life paid
significant dividends later.
2
Across the world, sport has become a vehicle for mediating social change, a
means of breaking down social barriers, offering recognition and advance-
ment for minorities and women in multicultural, modernising societies. In
the United States, for example, the pantheon of national heroes features
renowned athletes such as the Native American Jim Thorpe, the African
Americans Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson, and the female stars Althea Gib-
son and Billie Jean King. Today, as sport has globalised, its heroes hail from
every country, culture, and circumstance.
Likewise, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, major sporting com-
petitions are migrating to the developing world, bringing their economic
and social benefits. South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup is the
first in a series to be held in developing countries: the 2014, 2018 and 2022
events will be staged in Brazil, Russia, and Qatar, respectively. The econom-
ic and social impact for these countries is substantial: more than a million
people passed through South African airports during the World Cup, the
government made substantial infrastructure investment, and FIFA put up
$70 million for 20 Football for Hope projects that provide health and educa-
tion services as well as sport. But perhaps most important was the sense of
pride and unity hosting the Cup imparted to South Africans. The situation
is much the same for the Indian Premier League, a major domestic cricket
tournament founded in 2008 that already attracts some of the sport’s big-
gest names and draws 190 million television viewers in India–nearly twice
the number that watch the Champions League Final –and has a brand value
of more than $4 billion.
3
Even glossy, glamorous, high-rolling Formula One
has made an emphatic move into emerging markets –and in the process
stripped the United States and France of their Grand Prix. In 2011, half the
races will be in developing countries; India expects to host its first Grand
Prix in Noida this year, joining recent additions Singapore, Abu Dhabi,
Bahrain, and South Korea.
© MONITOR QUEST LTD. 2011
GUARDING THE GAME Preserving the Integrity of Sport
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