The hosting of the FIFA Football World Cup has been perceived in South Africa both as a challenge of accelerated social, economic, and spatial transformation, and as an opportunity to showcase the nation’s ability to successfully provide the structures and capacities for one of the biggest sports tournaments in the world. The thesis of ‘festivalisation’ sees mega-events (like the Football World Cup) as a form of translocal dynamics which is embedded in the context of increased inter-urban competition in the era of globalisation. This paper aims at investigating some effects of such globalised forms of festivalisation (Häußermann and Siebel 1993) on the urban sphere in South Africa. The focus is on identifying key actors and key topics in relation to urban governance in the host cities. The method applied is a mix of various strands of discourse analysis, since every approach has its shortcomings and a combination might point out directions of how to systematically link these perspectives in future research. To a certain extent, the path presented here remains methodologically explorative. Still, the paper shows that an analysis of language-based communication, or more specifically, an approach that takes media representations as a point of entry to the field of urban dynamics, might produce insights otherwise overlooked, and thus adds a critical angle to the study of urban governance.