Mega-events are urban spectacles that bring together capital, physical materials, symbols, people and organizations, to produce sports and cultural events. Rio de Janeiro hosted the soccer World Cup in 2014 and will shortly host the 2016 Olympics, two such mega-events. This paper discusses these mega-events in terms of a new and influential model of transnational governance that involves market-based alliances between urban leaders, real-estate developers, global corporations and sports-related civil society groups. It begins by defining mega-events and their significance to transnational governance, and then describes the mega-events being held in Rio de Janeiro. In the final section, the implications of these mega-events are reviewed, highlighting the on-going period of contestation within urban visions of transnational governance.
Social management; environmental management; critical theory; urban management; Brazilian politics