Christopher Gaffney is an urban geographer who investigates the urban and social impacts of sports mega-events, particularly the ways in which event coalitions produce changes in the political economy of urban regions.
He lived in Brazil between 2009 and 2014 and ran the influential blog Hunting White Elephants.
Gaffney is the author of Temples of the Earthbound Gods (University of Texas Press, 2008) and is the editor of the Journal of Latin American Geography.
Gaffney’s lunch talk is part of the Global Issues Symposium.
This talk will examine the specific ways in which sports mega-events function to extract monopoly rents from their hosts in the Brazilian city. The 10-year cycle of bidding for and hosting a mega-event is predicated upon a business model that allows FIFA and the IOC to extract monopoly rents from prospective hosts.
The financial benefits that accrue from the monopoly condition of the Olympics and World Cup are accentuated by the conditions under which the events are realized. While the unfolding of these processes is complicated, involving thousands of independent actors across the globe, the essence of the business model can be distilled down to a few essential practices all predicated upon the concept of render.
By exploring mechanisms under which these processes unfolded in Rio de Janeiro, the talk will show how the rendering of mega-event host cities functions to produce ever higher profits for FIFA and the IOC within a very specific accumulation regime that fuels the global sports-industrial complex.
Cosponsors: Department of Latin American Studies, the Environmental Studies Program, and the Creative Writing Program