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School of Communication and Media, Montclair State University


Global sporting events regularly spark conversations on issues beyond the playing field, including those at the nexus of sport and geopolitics. This year’s World Cup is no exception, a conversation that began soon after the event was awarded by FIFA to Qatar, a Middle Eastern nation with a population of just over 3 million residents – exponentially smaller than typical hosts of such events – and with a record of exploitative labor systems and a highly questionable human rights record. While this conversation has led to protests and investigative reports on a range of news networks, it has also become a touchpoint of conversation on social media, a place where sports fans and critics often convene and to rally behind athletes, teams, and movements.

This study will examine recent conversation about the upcoming World Cup and human rights issues. More specifically, it will measure social media conversation and sentiment around the rising question of boycotting the event. In other words, this study will examine what people are saying on social media about boycotting the World Cup and what impact that might have on the protest movement and the event itself.


About the School of Communication and Media: Founded in 2012, the School of Communication and Media offers a range of dynamic programs in communication and media to a talented and diverse student population of over 1,500. Offering degrees in film and television, social media and public relations, advertising, journalism and digital media, sports communication, animation and visual effects, and an MA in public and organizational relations, the School prepares the next generation of communication and media practitioners and leaders. The School houses award-winning student programs that include WMSC Radio, The Montclarion newspaper, Hawk Communications PR Agency, the Red Hawk Sports Network, Hawk+ OTT streaming platform, and News Lab, as well as the Center for Cooperative Media, which serves the public by working to grow and strengthen local journalism. Recent national School recognitions include an Edward R. Murrow Award, several Marconi Award nominations, and a College Television Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.