This week, students in our Equity & Access to Sport course looked at how media impacted the political and economic climate in Brazil around the time of the 2014 World Cup. Here are a couple of their thoughts.
By: James Campbell
An examination of World Cup 2014 in Brazil provides an excellent example of how media, politics, and economic factors have become intertwined in the modern sports world. Each factor is now dependent on the others; to successfully host a major event like the World Cup, a group must be able to have all three factors working together. At Brazil’s World Cup, the media, specifically social media, perhaps played its largest role ever and affected the roles of politics and the economics of the games. For example, the Brazil and Chile match-up generated the most tweets ever for a sporting event, and Facebook reported almost a billion interactions involving the World Cup on its site. But social media’s impact went well beyond tweets and Facebook mentions; it provided a voice and outlet for protests for years before the first soccer ball was kicked in the World Cup.
In this article, the author discusses how for many months leading up to the World Cup, the prevailing belief, not only in Brazil but around the world, was that the games would be a failure as infrastructure and stadiums would not be ready in time. The potential shortcomings, combined with the massive protest movements against a variety of political decisions, from spending so much money on stadiums that would have no use after the World Cup to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people for the games, were covered not only by mainstream media, but by social media as well. Social media allowed the protestors to spread their message without having to go to the mainstream. It also allowed for anyone to help bring attention to the protests and other actions that were occurring around the country. In the US, people could watch videos shot by protestors through YouTube or Facebook and were able to see what was happening without it being edited by mainstream media, which had been the norm.
The growth of social media and its impact on this World Cup can be felt beyond its use in disseminating ideas and information. It has continued to force the issues raised during the World Cup to not be forgotten, as opposed to the mainstream media which will not worry about Brazil again until it is time for the Olympics. Examples of this are calls to finish infrastructure that was begun for the World Cup but not finished, and calls to remember those who suffered through forced relocation to ensure they are properly compensated and cared for. These are two examples of the pressure that is still being placed on the politics and economics of the World Cup. They are similar to the pressure put on the political factor in the lead up to the World Cup by the protestors demanding money for infrastructural improvements be spent on items such as new hospitals and schools instead of stadiums. They also pushed for economic and political reforms after so many of the projects went over-budget because of corruption within the government. Social media was important in that they brought these messages to the forefront by sidestepping traditional information routes that were usually closed off to them and followed new ones which allowed them to control their own message. As the world became aware of the protests and disturbances occurring in Brazil, pressure was created on the government to correct these political and economic issues.
Culture and political legacies of the World Cup: Where to now?. (2014, July 13). The Conversation. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/cultural-and-political-legacies-of-the-world-cup-where-to-now-28965
Rapoza, Kenneth. (2015, June 7). A year later, Brazil’s FIFA World Cup infrastructure still not built. Forbes. Retrieved fromhttp://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2015/06/07/a-year-later-brazils-fifa-world-cup-infrastructure-still-not-built/2/#4770716e7d15
Watts, Jonathan. (2014, July 7). Brazil 2014: World Cup where politics and social media invaded the pitch. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/jul/07/brazil-world-cup-politics-social-media-debate-fifa-football
By: Tray Crusciel
Brazil World Cup and the Impact of Media
The world cup event is one event that cities all over the world will fight to host due to the impact and attention the event will bring on the economy and entire city overall. Brazil was the lucky city in the year 2014. Though, Brazil didn’t realize the obstacles and challenges that awaited such a decision. The Brazil 2014 World Cup might go down as the best world cup in history but will surely go down as the most influential and globally recognized world cup in quite some time.
The Brazil World Cup was deeply impacted by the presence of social media this time around and even many world leaders were seen posting to Twitter and Facebook and getting involved in the world cup craze. “Brazil 2014 has broken records on Facebook and Twitter. The Brazil v Chile match generated 16.4m tweets, surpassing the record previously held by this year’s Superbowl. The tournament also racked up an unprecedented 1bn Facebook interactions by 29 June, with two weeks still left to the final. The attention has been global but perhaps the most impressive surge was in the US, where the heroics of goalkeeper Tim Howard and his teammates briefly dominated a national sporting dialogue that usually centers on basketball, American football, baseball and ice hockey.” (Theguardian.com Brazil 2014: World Cup where politics and social media invaded the pitch) Arguably, the increase in excitement and support within the United States was the most recognized changing point in this year’s world cup. Though, the impact of the media and social media has not only led to increases in excitement but due to the social media platform and all the attention politicians and protesters can get by using it, there were countries that benefited from the event, especially Brazil. “According to a recent report from the UN Center for the Latin America and Caribbean (ECLAC), in 2005 38 percent of Brazil’s population lived below the poverty line. Fast-forward to 2012 and that poverty figure dropped to 18.6 percent of the population. In other words, since 2005 Brazil has effectively reduced the number of its citizens living poverty by more than half.”(Forbes.com World Cup Economics: Why Brazil Bashers got it Wrong). All the media craze, world leaders fighting for attention, political campaigns with hopes hinging on the world cup results, and protesters disagreeing with the financial aspect of hosting the event all used and were impacted by the media coverage and social media platforms. Everyone was looking for a way to be involved in the world cup chatter but “instead it is probably more accurate just to say that there are more ways to chat, more people in the discussion, and more at stake than ever during this World Cup; so any politician worth his or her salt is trying to take advantage of this extraordinary platform.” (Theguardian.com Brazil 2014: World Cup where politics and social media invaded the pitch) There has never been a more criticized world cup that ended up being regarded as maybe the best world cup ever.
As the event moved forward and as Brazil’s defeat has come and gone, Brazil still continues to benefit even in the aftermath of the event. Not only has the economy improved but also poverty rates continue to decrease. European football now has an improved fan base within Brazil and the city will forever be grateful they hosted the event. Future hosts of the world cup should take notes on how to turn such a stressful and high maintenance event into an economically jump starting one. The only obstacle left for Brazil is to somehow benefit from the new or renovated stadiums left behind. These stadiums will need to be addressed on how to properly use and benefit from them going forward. Though, with a new legacy of European football starting in Brazil, this task should be solvable.
Watts, J. (2014). Brazil 2014: World Cup where politics and social media invaded the pitch. Retrieved July 5, 2016, from https://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/jul/07/brazil-world-cup-politics-social-media-debate-fifa-football.
Flannery, N. (2014). World Cup Economics: Why Brazil Bashers Got It Wrong. Retrieved July 5, 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanielparishflannery/2014/06/23/world-cup-economics-why-brazils-bashers-have-got-it-wrong/#1eb9d7865fbf.