Mega Sport and the Gentrification of Public Space

Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type

Closed Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Justice Studies

First Advisor

Judah Schept

Department Affiliation

Justice Studies

Second Advisor

Kishonna L. Gray

Department Affiliation

Justice Studies

Third Advisor

Gary W. Potter

Department Affiliation

Justice Studies


Capitalism is at the root of all current economic and social circumstances. As the public and private industry is driven towards the ever-increasing need to collect capital, we see the same increase in the exacerbated functions of free market economy by which they do so. Mega sporting events, like the Olympics, are integral to establishing strong footholds of economic prosperity that they bring to the multinational corporations. My goal is to link the underlying factors that cause the reconstruction of urban space and to shed light on the allure of such venues.

Each year the impact of the Super Bowl is felt all over the hosting city, whether it be economically, through social sentiment, or law enforcement engagements. With this study I hope to uncover the true impact of the Super Bowl, on the community and the lives of the people. As there are many avenues through which to examine this, I decided to focus on the impact that the Super Bowl has on gentrification through a critical lens, examining how neoliberalism, and capital accumulation shapes contemporary statecraft. For this study it is important to establish the context and conditions under which issues of urban regeneration, homelessness, and dispossession occur, as well as establishing the meaning behind adamant social gentrification. The purpose of this study is to gain an understanding of the political and economic patterns that characterize spatial cities, in particular the gentrification process as well as urban pacification. This paper analyzes and hopefully demonstrates how police and governmental power are mobilized to secure accumulation, to impose social control and to extend the power and arsenal of neoliberalism and the security state apparatus. Through mega sporting events, security and gentrification are not only integral to the perpetuation of contemporary statecraft but also central to further enabling and embedding private enterprise and capital flow. Additionally, the rhetoric and concept of securitization on its own becomes a method of enforcing power as it functions to both obscure and justify how these mega sporting events are ultimately projects of class power.

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