South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ came at a time when countries and cities worldwide were increasingly competing for this sought-after status. The benefits and challenges of such an event have received significant attention from researchers and practitioners alike. No tourism destination is guaranteed long-term competitiveness by being offered the once-off opportunity to host a major international event. This study aimed to determine whether a mega-event would make a greater or lesser contribution to the long-term competitiveness of the host destination given the extent to which it was being addressed at a strategic level. Existing literature on destination competitiveness and mega-events was studied to identify relevant issues that would have to be addressed at this level. Primary and secondary qualitative data were collected from a host city on the eve of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ to place these issues into perspective. The empirical findings indicate how a mega-event can contribute to the competitiveness of a destination if it forms part of a broader event strategy; if the necessary leadership is in place; and stakeholder roles have been clarified.