1st Edition

The Geopolitical Economy of Sport Power, Politics, Money, and the State

Edited By Simon Chadwick, Paul Widdop, Michael M. Goldman Copyright 2023
    318 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    318 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This is the first book to define and explore the geopolitical economy of sport – the intersection of power, politics, money, and state interests that both exploit and shape elite sport around the world.

    Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the global response, and the consequent ramifications for sport have put the geopolitical economy of sport front and centre in both public debate and academic thinking. Similarly, the Winter Olympics in Beijing and the FIFA World Cup in Qatar illustrate the political, economic, and geographic imperatives that shape modern sport. This book brings together studies from around the world to describe this new geopolitical economy of sport, from the way in which countries use natural resource revenues, accusations of sport washing, and the deployment of sport for soft power purposes, to the way in which sport has become a focus for industrial development. This book looks at the geopolitical economy of sport across the globe, from the Gulf States’ interests in European soccer to Israel seeking to build a national competitive advantage by positioning itself as a global sports tech start-up hub, and the United States continuing to extend its economic and cultural influence through geopolitical sport activities in Africa, Latin America, and the Indian subcontinent. This book captures a pivotal moment in the history of sport and sport business.

    This is essential reading for any student, researcher, practitioner, or policymaker with an interest in sport business, the politics of sport, geopolitics, soft power, diplomacy, international relations, or international political economy.

    List of Contributors

    1. Introduction: Towards a Geopolitical Economy of Sport

    Simon Chadwick, Paul Widdop, and Michael M. Goldman

    PART I: Russia and Ukraine

    2. Athletes’ Early Responses to the War Against Ukraine

    Leo Goretti

    3. Sport Sanctions Against Invasive Russia

    Daryl Adair

    4. What Future for Putin’s Sport Power?

    Lukas Aubin

    5. Governance Dysfunction in World Sport: Issues Raised by the Conflict in Ukraine

    Sergey Altukhov

    6. Public Remembering of Sochi 2014 at a Time of War: The Kremlin’s Soft Disempowerment through Sport

    Vitaly Kazakov

    7. Transnational Leagues and Their Role in Projecting Soft Power

    Olivier Jarosz, Konstantin Kornakov, and Adam Metelski

    PART II: China

    8. The International Paralympic Committee, Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games, and the Invasion of Ukraine

    Verity Postlethwaite

    9. Israel’s Winter Sports Diplomacy and Beijing 2022

    Yoav Dubinsky

    10. The Global Sporting Power Elite: Eileen Gu

    Donna Wong and Yue Meng-Lewis

    11. China’s Moves to Influence the Geopolitical Economy of Sports: The Three Axe Strokes

    Lingling Liu and Dan Zhang

    12. Making of (Not Only) a Sports Superpower: The Chinese Dream

    Abhishek Khajuria

    13. Chinese Super League: Soft Power, Investment, and Sustainability

    Ricardo Gúdel and Emilio Hernández

    14. Doing Sports Business in China: Still a Slam Dunk?

    Jonathan Sullivan and Tobias Ross

    PART III: The Gulf and South Asia

    15. Qatar and the 2022 FIFA World Cup: Soft Power, State Branding, or Nation Building?

    Kristian Coates Ulrichsen

    16. Geopolitics of Sport in the MENA Region

    Mahfoud Amara and Sara Mehanna Al-Naimi

    17. Sport and Saudi Arabia: Mimetic Isomorphism, Soft Power, and Disempowerment

    Nicholas Burton and Michael L. Naraine

    18. Sport Washing and the Gulf Region: Myth or Reality?

    Simon Chadwick and Paul Widdop

    19 Geopolitics of Cricket in India

    Mohit Anand

    PART IV: Africa

    20. Africa in the Global Football Business Complex

    Gerard A. Akindes

    21. The NBA’s Partnership with Rwanda

    Michael M. Goldman and Jeffrey W. Paller

    PART V: Football

    22. The Politics of Alternative Football: Curious Friends

    Steve Menary

    23. The Conjunctural Politics of the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup: United 2026

    Adam S. Beissel

    24. The Attempted Reshaping of the Turkish Football Landscape under the AK Party: A Transaction Cost

    Economics Explanation

    Steven H. Seggie

    25. Football and the City: A Sports Place Branding Perspective of Barcelona and Manchester

    Xavier Ginesta and Carles Viñas

    26. The European Super League and Football’s Privatization

    Alexey Kirichek

    PART VI: Motorsport

    27. Sport Governance, Geopolitical Change, and Organizational Resilience: The Case of Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA)

    Hans Erik Næss

    28. The Geopolitics of Money Versus Morals: Location, Location, Location of the Formula 1 Race Calendar

    Tim Dewhirst

    29. The End of Oil?: Formula One’s Changing Face

    Josh Rayman

    PART VII: Peace, Diplomacy, and Society

    30. Sport, Geo-Politics, and the Peace Process

    Grant Jarvie

    31. Sports Diplomacy in the Pacific Region and the Sino-Australian Great Game

    Stuart Murray and Tony Yang

    32. Sports, Race, and Cosmopolitanism

    J.P. Singh

    33. Transgender Sport Bans Come for Elite Sport: Federations’ New Attempt to Define Womanhood

    Sydney Bauer

    PART VIII: Implications

    34 What the Cases of Gazprom, the NBA, and Qatar Mean for Sport Industry Decision-Makers

    Simon Chadwick and Paul Widdop



    Simon Chadwick is Professor of Sport and Geopolitical Economy at Skema Business School in Paris, France, where he is also a member of its Publika think tank and Director of its Global Executive MBA in Sport. Chadwick’s work combines his global interests in sport, geography, politics, and economics, meaning that his current research is focused on, for example, ownership and sponsorship in football by state-owned corporations. He has worked extensively in sport with clubs, governing bodies, commercial partners, and governments.

    Paul Widdop is Senior Lecturer at the University of Manchester, UK. His research explores social and economic networks around the consumption and production of sport. He has published widely in the areas of sport and culture including articles in the Journal of Consumer Culture, Cultural Sociology, Cultural Trends, Electoral Studies, and the Journal of Political Marketing. Widdop serves on the editorial board of several academic journals and is co-founder of the Football Collective, a learned society of academics researching impacts of football on society.

    Michael M. Goldman is Professor with the Sport Management Program at the University of San Francisco, USA, while also working with the Gordon Institute of Business Science in South Africa. He works with students, managers, and clients to enhance their abilities to acquire, grow, and retain profitable customers and fans.