After a three-year bidding war that included a slew of American cities and about seven other countries, San Diego will host the inaugural Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) World Beach Games October 2019. Now, those involved, including the San Diego Exploratory Foundation and the San Diego Tourism Authority, hope the games will not only bring a significant economic boost to town, but also attract other big sporting events like it to the city.
During a May 24 press conference, 2019 local organizing president, Vincent Mudd, told attendees the Beach Games will attract about 1,300 athletes representing over 200 countries and playing in 15 sports and 17 disciplines. “This will probably be the largest delegation of international visitors that we ever had, and that includes the World Fair 101 years ago,” he said.
Mike McDowell from the San Diego Tourism Authority added that they project “tens of thousands hotel rooms will be occupied by athletes, their families and fans” as a result.
“These games are a big deal to San Diego, with long term ramifications for hosting other national and international games,” said McDowell. “San Diego will be positioned to attract several similar events well into the future, all bringing significant economic impact.”
The games will also use their platform to promote their “clean water, clean games” initiative as part of their sustainability and social responsibility component. As part of that project, organizers plan to remove all infrastructure that will be built to host the Beach Games, including a 2,500-seat stadium, once the event has culminated.
“We are not going to leave anything behind,” said Mudd. “We are coming to visit Mission Beach, we are going to use this place, and then we are going to leave it better than we found it.”
Mudd also added organizers hope to use the Beach Games to inspire young people to get active in these sports in particular, so that America may come in one of the top three spots when ranked. The sports program includes:
Triathlon-aquathlon, three-on-three basketball, BMX cycling, bouldering sports climbing, beach handball, individual karate, kitefoil racing sailing, park skateboarding, beach soccer/football, shortboard and longboard surfing, open water 5 km swimming, beach tennis, four-on-four beach volleyball, waterski jump and wakeboard waterskiing and beach wrestling.
In addition, leading up to the Beach Games, SD Exploratory is planning 365 days of smaller competitions around San Diego County that will include those athletes and games that don’t make the final cut, all while keeping fans excited and attracting attendees.
ANOC Secretary General Gunilla Lindberg said the games are slated to take place every two years, and that, despite recent political issues between North Korea and the United States, they still hope North Koreans will participate. “This is a unity game, not a divisive game,” she said. The Beach Games will be televised as well as streamed, although negotiations are still ongoing.
Other executives present at the conference included ANOC’s Coordination Commission Chairman Timothy Fok, as well as San Diego Councilmember Lorie Zapf. Former Olympian Willy Banks and US Soccer team captain Nick Perera, were also in attendance.
The Beach Games will take place in San Diego from Oct. 10-15, 2019.