Our stadium of four million
In 2009, Prime Minister John Key announced that 2011 would be a milestone year for New Zealand, as it hosted one of the world’s biggest sports events, the Rugby World Cup.1 He also stated “the New Zealand Government is proud to be a key partner with Rugby World Cup Ltd in staging Rugby World Cup 2011 here in our Stadium of Four Million”.2 In an era of neoliberal globalization and media spectacle, the hosting of such a sporting mega-event is seen as all positive, as an integral component of a sound national development strategy and as a guarantee of perceived economic benefits, especially in terms of brand building, tourism and place marketing. Reference to ‘perceived economic benefits’ is important here, because the host country pays for the privilege of staging such an event, and it is only through the promise of potential, future benefits that the cost to local and state authorities can be justified.
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