Developing nations increasingly use sporting mega-events to demonstrate capacity, staking a claim to a place on the ‘world map’ by participating in what has been referred to as the ‘global circus’, or alternatively, the ‘prestige model’. The 2010 Commonwealth Games, hosted by India, provide an example of a mega-event which had mixed results in terms of signalling global modernity. This study extends existing media analysis research that found that the Western media’s interpretation of the event was critical overall and employed negative stereotypes that served to undermine India’s status as a modern power. This study employed a comprehensive textual analysis of relevant articles from eight major daily newspapers to reveal that the Australian print media coverage often focused on the inadequacies of India as an appropriate host nation for the Commonwealth Games.