News & events


The Urban Legacy of the 2010 FIFA World Cup

16 March 2010
12:15 - 13:30

Date :

16 March 2010

Time :

12:15 – 13:30

Presenter :

Dr Udesh Pillay, Executive Director, Centre for Service Delivery


The FIFA World Cup is the world’s largest sporting and media event and an extraordinarily profitable event for FIFA through the sale of television rights and through its ongoing corporate partners and events-based sponsors. By 2008, these had already ensured that the 2010 World Cup, to be hosted in South Africa, will be 25 per cent more profitable than the 2006 Football World Cup.


The economic legacy of a mega sporting event is generally anticipated in terms of short and medium-term job creation, contribution to GDP, increased trade and investment flows and a surge in tourism. Expedited investment in urban infrastructure through the unlocking of public funds is also anticipated. Economic projections, however, tend invariably to be overstated, overestimating the benefits and underestimating the costs, and there is considerable debate regarding whether World Cups benefit or harm the host country’s economy, and indeed that of the host cities.


Notwithstanding this, the greater potential benefit to the host country and, equally, the greater risk, is less tangible. Nation-building, identity-formation and a sense of patriotism are seen as important markers of success, and scholars have argued that the World Cup presents a significant opportunity for South Africa to debunk commonly held representations of Africa by utilizing the mega-event to project a contemporary, reinvigorated image of the continent, and through celebrating African culture and identity.  As such, there is potential to contradict notions of Afro-pessimism through demonstrating that Africans can successfully host and manage a mega sporting event.


This seminar explores these issues, highlighting findings from the recently published book Development and Dreams: the Urban Legacy of the 2010 World Cup, produced by the Centre for Service Delivery (CSD) at the HSRC, and published  by the HSRC Press.


Dr Pillay holds a PhD in geography from the University of Minnesota, and an MA in geography (cum laude) from the University of Natal. Prior to heading CSD, Dr Pillay was executive head of the HSRC’s Surveys, Analyses, Mapping and Modeling (SAMM), and Urban, Rural and Economic Development (URED), research programmes. Dr Pillay has been in executive management for over ten-years.


Before joining the HSRC, Dr Pillay was the general manager of the Delimitation and Planning Directorate of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), overseeing the 1999 national and 2000 municipal elections. Prior to that, he was a senior manager at the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE). He has previously lectured at the Universities of Natal and Durban-Westville, and has consulted widely, including sustained involvement in the development of the white papers on urban development and local government in the mid-1990s. As an urban and economic geographer, Dr Pillay’s key areas of expertise include urban development and renewal, local government reform and restructuring, local economic development, service delivery, urban policy and electoral geography. Dr Pillay commentates widely on issues of urban development and policy in the print and electronic media, and is a fortnightly Business Day columnist.


To reserve a seat, kindly RSVP by 11 March 2010


Cape Town: HSRC, 12th Floor, Plein Park Building (Opposite Revenue Office), Plein Street , Cape Town 
Contact Vuyokazi Ngxubaza, Tel (021) 4668004, Fax (021) 461 0299, or Cell: 082 0508453

Durban: First floor HSRC board room, 750 Francois Road, Ntuthuko Junction, PODS 5 and 6, Cato Manor, Contact Johannes Khoele, Tel (031) 2425400, Cell; 084 2406 003 or  

Pretoria: HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria.   Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811, e-mail: