ComView by David N. Townsend




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Communications in

by David N. Townsend

The World Cup and Communications Development:
A New Vision? (2002)

A vital new position paper on expanding Universal Access

The amazing and encouraging fact about the World Cup quadrennial football tournament is how thoroughly it captivates the entire world’s attention, more than any other international event: more even than the Olympics, more than any King’s coronation or Princess’s funeral, more than any United Nations gathering or global economic summit. The only two moments of recent history that can claim comparable worldwide awareness and interest, for very different reasons, were the arrival of the new Millennium and the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, and these were (one hopes) unique, one-time events. The World Cup proved again in 2002 that this singular international sporting competition has the ability to rivet an entire planet of spectators for days and weeks on end, and for those countries whose teams were fortunate enough to enjoy victories deep into the tournament, it swept entire populations into a sustained frenzy of nationalism and football enthusiasm.

And the phenomenon is still growing unrelentingly, for two important reasons. First, the reluctant and tardy United States citizenry has finally come to join at least some of the party, by producing capable competitive teams on the field, an increasingly soccer-aware fan base, and most of all, a burgeoning market interest in soccer and World Cup-related business opportunities. But the second and more significant factor is the rapidly expanding utilization of information and communications technologies throughout both the industrialized and the less developed worlds.

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