Organising committees of mega sports events typically claim that these events create huge economic benefits for the hosting city, region or country. However, these reports are subject to severe academic scrutiny, pointing at serious flaws in the calculation of the economic benefits. The first part of this paper reviews an important part of this literature which is relevant for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. We apply these academic findings to the prospects of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, accounting for the fact that South Africa is not a developed country, like Germany, that hosted the 2006 FIFA World Cup. In the second part of this paper, we review the literature on migration of African football players to Europe which is typically claimed to be a form of ‘neocolonial exploitation’. We argue that this might be too fast a conclusion which does not take into account the findings in the general migration literature, and conjecture on the possible implications of the World Cup on this migration.