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Call Me Loyal: Globalization, Corporate Nationalism and the America’s Cup

This study examines the relationship between sport, globalization and national identity. Specifically, the article focuses on how Team New Zealand’s 2003 America’s Cup campaign represents and reproduces the concept of corporate nationalism. Located within a critical cultural studies perspective the analysis uses a multi-method approach including textual and contextual analysis and semi-structured interviews with key media cultural intermediaries to examine a unique global-local nexus involving the ‘Family of five’ sponsors whose elective affinity set about to unite the New Zealand nation. The findings reveal that: a) both local and multinational corporations (MNCs) use sport as a vehicle through which to articulate their brands with national identity as part of a process of localization; b) the promotional culture of major sporting events such as the America’s Cup provides a platform for MNCs to (re)present, (re)produce and (re)construct national identity; and c) despite their strategic attempts to appropriate national icons and themes multinational corporations face resistance and national identity remains a contested domain.