Promoting Terror or Sport? The Case of Qatar’s International Image

Tal Samuel-Azran, Moran Yarchi, Yair Galily, Ilan Tamir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Qatar’s successful bid for hosting the 2022 soccer World Cup is regarded as one in a series of attempts to change Qatar’s image as a terror-sponsoring state. To understand the power of hosting megasport events to rebuild a country’s international image, the present study compares the coverage of Qatari sport affairs with concurrent terror-sponsoring allegations, via a sentiment analysis of coverage of Qatari affairs by three international networks (SKY, CNN, and ITV) between August 20, 2013 and December 31, 2014. Surprisingly, the analysis found that terror-related articles contained significantly more positive sentiment than articles on other issues, whereas the tone toward Qatar in sport-related articles was significantly less positive than other topics. The study illustrates the limits of using sport as a soft power strategy, and underscores the superiority of on-the-ground efforts to deflect terror allegations as a strategy for improving a country’s image.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1101-1115
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Al-Jazeera
  • FIFA
  • ISIS
  • Qatar
  • World Cup
  • sport
  • terror

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (all)


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