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A Word with the CEO: Sports Globalization in the Olympics and Beyond

Discussing globalization in sport
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A Word with the CEO: Sports Globalization in the Olympics and Beyond

Why this matters

Global Sport Institute CEO Kenneth Shropshire is joined by Digital Communications Specialist Brendon Kleen to introduce "The Risk & Reward of Globalized Sport," the latest Digital Issue from Global Sport Matters.

In this video introduction to Global Sport Matters' August Digital Issue, "The Risk & Reward of Globalized Sport," Brendon Kleen, the Digital Communications Specialist at the Global Sport Institute, is joined by Kenneth Shropshire, the CEO of the Global Sport Institute, to examine how globalization has helped and harmed sport across the world.

Sport has always been a force through which people come together, exchange cultural artifacts, and develop as a community. As the spheres of our connectivity have broadened, so too has the scope of sport’s power as the connective tissue of society.

In the 20th century, as global trade intensified, the athlete became a symbol and a salesman, a commodity to be consumed just like the products they were selling. Muhammad Ali was to fight fans across the globe a brilliant beacon of perseverance and discipline, a religious and political icon who stood up for his beliefs. Michael Jordan became synonymous with Nike, with the NBA, with basketball, and with the United States. Today, American athletes like LeBron James, Tiger Woods and Serena Williams fill the same role for passionate sports followers, from Melbourne to Montreal.

But increasingly, sporting culture is something that the United States imports from other nations just as much as it exports it elsewhere. Whereas LeBron and Tiger signify the large-scale capitalistic possibilities of American sport and the longstanding sociopolitical structures that inform Americans’ relationship to Black athletes, we now more regularly see foreign stars like Zlatan Ibrahimović, Shohei Ohtani and Nikita Kucherov come to the U.S. and carve out a niche for themselves and their stories. That’s not to mention other realms such as esports, cricket or rugby, in which the U.S. lags compared with other countries’ competitive dominance.

Watch the video then explore the issue.

Monthly Issue

The Risk & Reward of Globalized Sport

Globalization has accelerated since the latter half of the 20th century, making sport a key cultural import. Whether it was a Michael Jordan sneaker or simply a ball and net that helped new communities discover soccer, the United States gave and received sport along with many nations around the world.

It’s unclear if those same silos still exist today. Sport is increasingly a means by which nations interact, and at a higher level of interconnectedness than ever. In what ways is sport's impact being utilized as a tool for development and detriment around the world?