Organizers of the 2010 World Cup, which started Friday, are making the same error that backers of big sporting events always do — overpromising and underdelivering.
In 2008, the South African government said the global soccer tournament would create an estimated 695,000 jobs and have a gross impact of 93 billion rand ($12 billion U.S.) on South Africa's economy. The government also estimated that the games would grow the country's gross domestic product by 0.3% to 0.5%. “[T]he indirect spin-offs from improved perceptions abroad could have an even greater, longer-lasting impact, not only on South Africa and its development but on the continent as a whole. A successful World Cup will help change the perceptions that a large number of foreign investors hold of Africa ” the government wrote on its web site.