Who’s the Top Sports Power? The U.S., According to Analysis

Which nation has the most political clout when it comes to international sports? If you guessed the United States, you’d be correct. And it’s not just jingoism or patriotism talking: this comes off international research.  And here’s even more good news: it comes from the fact that an American is head of the ITF. More on that in a minute.

A recently updated study entitled, “Formal Sports Political Power Index,” conducted by the National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark (DIF) worked to quantify the amount of sports political power that is held by individual nations. This analysis is based on a calculation of 1,673 members from executive committees in 120 of the most important international and European sports federations. Information was collected between July and September of 2015.

On the international index, the United States ranked in the top position, followed by France, the UK, Italy, Germany, Canada, Russia, Spain, China and Australia. The U.S. also topped the list in the 2013 Power Index Ranking, but gained an additional six points in the 2015 version. France surpassed the UK and Italy to reach second place.

According to Michael Pavitt writing for Inside the Games, the increase in the U.S.’s position may be partially explained by American David Haggerty being elected President of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to replace Italy’s Francesco Ricci Bitti last September, as well as Anita DeFrantz’s appointment to the IOC Executive Board.

While the analysis did not take into consideration the number, location or sophistication of sports venues in each country, the U.S. has been on the leading edge of facility design and construction because of its strong involvement in the international sports scene. That, in turn, feeds into the high placement of individuals in the governing bodies of sports.

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