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Daniel S. Mason, Marvin Washington and Ernest A.N. Buist

Status and reputation have become increasingly important to cities seeking to differentiate themselves in a competitive global marketplace; sports events, franchises, and infrastructure have become a critical means to contest this. This article takes a grounded theory approach and develops a series of propositions on the basis of a single case study, making several important contributions to the literature. Although others have argued for an affiliation effect, this study sheds new light on how the affiliation mechanism works by including both positive and negative affiliations. In doing so, we reveal how cities are actively managed, how sports facilities emerge as status signals on the policy agenda of entrepreneurial cities, and how notions of status are articulated and mobilized by managers.