Urban Media Studies| Uncanny Resemblances? Captive Audience Positions and Media-Conscious Performances in Berlin During the 1936 Summer Olympics and the 2006 FIFA World Cup

Sami Kolamo, Jani Vuolteenaho


With an eye to attracting global media attention, the ordinary cityscape is purposefully transformed into an out-of-the-ordinary eventscape during major sports occasions. Focusing on the production of captive audience positions and event-goers’ associated media-conscious performances, this article compares the implementation of event spaces in the totalitarian-propagandist context of the 1936 Berlin Olympics with the commercially branded 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. Apart from blatant dissimilarities in ideological-commercial motifs and emotionally charged forms of audiencehood between these urban spectacles, variable media-densified audience positions were carefully built into the design of both events. The key commonalities include the turning of urban public spaces into strictly controlled event enclaves, civic education aimed at image leveraging through ambassadorial conduct, and atmospheric intensification by enthusiastic audience-performers. We conclude that these measures to maximize positive media publicity continue to steer, in increasingly multimedial ways, the production of urban megaevents even in the digitalized present.


cityscape-mediascape interplay, sports megaevents, propanda, branding, captive audience positions, media-conscious performances

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