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The media impact of the 2014 FIFA World CUP in selected key marketsτм
The hosting of 2014 FIFA World CupTM was an ideal opportunity for Brazil to enhance its international image. The aim of this study is to investigate the impact on Brazil and on Rio de Janeiro (as a host city and major tourist destination) of mainstream media reporting on the hosting of the 2014 FIFA World CupTM. It provides a picture of how Brazil and Rio de Janeiro were reported in selected newspapers at different stages of the event: pre-, lead-up, during, and post- the 2014 World Cup. The study also seeks to ascertain whether the major objectives of the Brazil World Cup bid were met in the hosting of this mega-event. A media content analysis was conducted in four key tourism markets: Argentina, USA, Germany and Portugal. These countries were chosen because they represent Brazil’s main tourism markets and reported significant numbers of ticket sales for the event. The methodology used was qualitative analysis, including content sourcing, content identification and the use of Leximancer, an analytic tool for large amounts of textual data. The study examined online newspapers with the largest readership and circulation numbers in the selected markets. In total, 1961 online newspaper articles relevant to Brazil’s hosting of the 2014 FIFA World CupTM were analysed. The findings revealed both positive and negative sentiments associated with Brazil’s hosting of the event. A key finding from the analysis was that for all markets, there was a shift from relatively positive sentiment in the pre-World Cup period, to more negative sentiment in the lead-up, followed by a return to positive sentiment during and after the World Cup. Having shifted to a more negative view leading up to and during the event, the USA market was dominated by media attention to social unrest and corruption. The period immediately prior to the tournament recorded an increase in both positive and negative media coverage in the US, German and Portuguese markets, but became more positive in the Argentinian market. Thus, the lead-up period was particularly significant in all markets. Safety and security concerns expressed in the lead-up period decreased significantly during the hosting and post- periods, and a positive image of the country was noticeable in the international media. Therefore, while the positive sentiments emerging during the event should be capitalised on, Brazil should also address the lurking concerns and negative perceptions that continue despite its successful hosting of the mega-event. By doing this the nation can consolidate its brand’s position in a sustained and positive way. As different reporting tones were noticed in the different markets across the time periods, it becomes important to consider these changes in the future event marketing and positioning of Rio de Janeiro as the leading tourism destination and events capital for Brazil, especially in relation to Rio de Janeiro’s hosting of future events.