Mega-events are global affairs with profound effects across a variety of scales, and are the focus of a large and growing body of academic inquiry. This special section in Sports in Society centers on the urban and economic impacts of mega-events on the societies that host them, offering an examination of individual cases and emerging patterns. The authors explore different dimensions of the recent mega-event experience from around the world, proposing novel ways of theorizing these outsized expressions of transnational sport, politics, commerce, and culture. Combined, these contributions unpack how socio-economic and cultural contexts shape the organization of events and impact hosts in variegated and contingent ways in the Global North, South, and East. This introduction offers a brief overview of the landscape of the existing research before summarizing each contribution and placing them in context within the broader literature. All told, the articles in this special section explore how the Olympics, the FIFA Men’s World Cup and the Commonwealth Games deploy different mechanisms to transform urban space, and offer innovative means of understanding what mega-events can do to the people and places that host them.