Johannesburg, South Africa is attempting to overcome its image of an apartheid era city to one of a cosmopolitan, world city. To that end, Johannesburg hosted the FIFA World Cup in 2010 to remake the city's image and spur economic development. Although not an uncontested or uncontroversial project, the World Cup involved the investment of billions of dollars in infrastructure, marketing, and personnel development. My thesis examines the perception changing abilities of the World Cup among American tourists and examines the politics behind elevating Johannesburg in the international urban hierarchy through mega events. I conducted field research in Johannesburg from June 2012 to August 2012, which involved in-depth personal interviews with American tourists, tourism officials, and city officials. I find that the World Cup did not project Johannesburg into the upper echelons of the world city network, but that this was a lofty goal rather than a political reality. Rather, I find that the World Cup was a mechanism for identity and unification politics, improvements in the urban and national infrastructure, and an opportunity to create a new international image from which it can build a positive and enduring legacy.