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Trust Me, I’m An Expert: What is sport worth?

The value of sport The Conversation45.1 MB (download)

Even if you’re no great sports fan, you may have noticed a lot of it around lately. There were the Winter Olympics and the Commonwealth Games, and now we’re halfway through the 2018 FIFA World Cup. What isn’t always so obvious is the money and the diplomatic power plays lingering just below the surface of every big sporting meet. But a growing body of academic research is examining those elements and their complex interplay.

So today we’re talking about sports: its dollar value, who gets to participate in it, and why countries spend billions of dollars to strut their stuff on the international stage.

Here’s a taste of what’s in today’s episode:

Sports diplomacy

Barbara Keys, sports historian from the University of Melbourne, explains the lofty moral claims of international sporting events, and how they often contrast with the muddy realities of global politics.

Read more: One likely winner of the World Cup? Putin

World Cup branding

Every four years, companies get a massive opportunity to sponsor the FIFA World Cup and reach billions of consumers around the world. Recent scandals at football’s governing body, FIFA, however, have tarnished its brand and caused some Western companies to distance themselves from the world’s most popular sporting event.

Marketing professors Con Stavros at RMIT and Andrew Hughes at Australian National University discuss how brands are taking a different approach at this year’s World Cup, and why there’s so much Chinese signage visible in Russia’s stadiums.

Come on, you girl barrackers!

And finally, let’s take a moment to appreciate loud, passionate women in Australia’s sporting scene. Women’s AFL is not an aberration of a male-centred sport, but an extension of women’s long participation as enthusiastic supporters.

Matthew Klugman, a sports historian from Victoria University, told The Conversation that men haven’t created a space in footy for women – women have always been there.

Read more: Why stereotypes of sexy women fans persist at the World Cup

Additional audio

Kindergarten by Unkle Ho, from Elefant Traks

Stages Of Awakening by Podington Bear, from Free Music Archive

You Wasted My Time When I Was Timewasting by Podington Bear, from Free Music Archive

Kid Is Frangin by Podington Bear, from Free Music Archive

Josimar by Eaters, from Free Music Archive

Zaire ‘54 by Eaters, from Free Music Archive

Pine Apple Rag by Scott Joplin, from Free Music Archive

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