2021 World Games coming to Birmingham, bringing $256.5 million economic impact
(Video Above: The World Games announces it’s coming to Birmingham in 2021)
LAUSANNA, Switzerland — A delegation from Birmingham announced from Switzerland early Thursday morning that the Magic City will host the 2021 World Games, a major event that organizers estimate will have a $256.5 million economic impact on the Birmingham region.
“I think I need to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming,” Birmingham Council President Johnathan Austin said as the news broke. “The city of Birmingham will make the World Games 2021 the best World Games that you all have seen.”
In addition to Austin, Birmingham’s delegation included Kristin Allen, a member of the U.S. Gymnastics team, David Benck, vice president and general counsel of Hibbett; Scott Myers, executive director of the Sports Hall of Fame; U.S. Olympic Committee Chairman Larry Probst; and Alabama Sports Hall of Fame chairman Edgar Welden.
The World Games’ decision to come to Birmingham marks the first time the Games will be held in the United States since since 1981 when they were held in Santa Clara, Calif. Birmingham beat out Lima, Peru and Ufa, Russia to win the event.
Even President Obama weighed in on the city’s behalf during the bid process by writing a letter to the International World Game Executive Committee.
“As President of the United States, I am pleased to voice my support for the City of Birmingham’s bid to host the World Games 2021,” Obama wrote. “I believe Birmingham’s storied history, vibrant community, and thriving service-based economy would make the city an excellent host to the 4,500 participating athletes and officials.”
The cost of staging the games is expected to be roughly $75 million, which will be raised through contributions from both the public and private sectors. Birmingham has committed $3.5 million to get the ball rolling. That money will be paid to the International World Games Association in yearly $500,000 installments over the next seven years leading up to the games.
“This is a historic opportunity for Birmingham,” Mayor William Bell told AL.com. “This is just the beginning, and I’m so thankful to the entire team and everyone who supported the team.”
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— Cliff Sims (@Cliff_Sims) December 3, 2014