Birmingham Chases World Games in Hopes of $256 Million from Tourism

Birmingham tourism officials are betting a $125, 000 application fee in hopes of scoring $256 million in tourism dollars should the city win a race to host the 2021 World Games.

A half-dozen cities are throwing in their hats and portions of the application fee will be refunded as cities are eliminated at various stages of the process, so Birmingham hopes it doesn’t get its money back. That would mean a winning bid.

The World Games is a multi-disciplinary sport event consisting of non-Olympic sports, held every four years and 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 and bowling.

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, ” he says.

Organizers project a $75 million budget would be needed to host the games but no sporting venues would have to be built. In addition to the economic impact, the city and state would receive international exposure.

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Other competing cities are thought to include Barcelona, Spain; Lima, Peru; Santiago, Chile; Ufa, Russia, and an unnamed city in the Middle East. The Games are tentatively slated for July 2021.

The winning host city for the 2021 World Games will be announced in January of 2015.

Text by Dave Helms

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