“We are grateful that our city has grown into a sports and entertainment destination for world-class events,” said Mayor William Bell. “We have worked hard to be in position to compete and our public-private partnerships are generating short and long-term results. The opportunity to host athletes and sports enthusiasts from around the globe is an honor.”
The World Games is a multi-disciplinary sport event consisting of non-Olympic sports, held every four years, organized by the International World Games Association, under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee. It includes approximately 40 sports, with more than 100 countries participating. The event takes place over 11 days at various venues during the summer months. There are 36 International Sport Federations represented in the World Games including such sports as: softball, lacrosse, field archery, gymnastics, racquetball, karate, sumo, canoeing, bowling, to name a few.
Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Chairman and longtime community leader Edgar Welden is serving on the Local Organizing Committee. “This is a fantastic opportunity to present our city and our state to a worldwide audience in an exciting fashion,” said Welden. “With over 100 countries and as many as 4,000 athletes participating, it is sure to be an exciting time for our community as well.”
The Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitor Bureau estimates the economic impact for this event based only on out-of-town dollars to be approximately $256,500,000. In addition to the economic impact, the City and State would receive tremendous international exposure, image enhancement, and additional development opportunities.
There are several other cities who have expressed their interest in bidding on the games. Those cities include: Barcelona, Spain; Lima, Peru; Santiago, Chile; Ufa, Russia; and an unnamed city in the Middle East.
The tentative dates for the World Games would be in the month of July 2021. The bids from the six cities are due by July 31, 2014. The announcement of the host city for the 2021 World Games will be made in January of 2015.
The first World Games were held in Santa Clara, CA in 1981. Other cities that have hosted the World Games are: London, England (1985); Karlsruhe, Germany (1989); The Hague, Netherlands (1993); Lahti, Finland (1997); Akita, Japan (2001); Duisburg, Germany (2005); Kaohsiung, Taipei, Taiwan (2009); Cali, Columbia (2013); and the 2017 World Games will be in Wroclaw, Poland.