Valencia will host the 2026 Gay Games

by Deborah Cater
Gay Games opening ceremony

Valencia saw off competition from Munich and Guadalajara (Mexico) and will host the 2026 Gay Games. Estimates of a positive €130million impact for the city are the icing on the cake.

The Federation of Gay Games (FGG) made the announcement this Thursday in Brighton. The judges gave high scores to Valencia for its “open, egalitarian, diverse and inclusive character”, which helped it secure its role as host in 2026.  

€130million economic boost

Last August, the Councilor for Sports and acting mayor, Pilar Bernabé, stressed event would have an economic impact of more than €130 million. She based this on “previous venues where it has been held, like Paris, Amsterdam or Toronto”.

From Brighton, the Valencian candidacy’s representatives were full of “joy and satisfaction” with the verdict of the FGG. They expressed their confidence that Valencia “is a city that is at the height of an international event such as the Gay Games”.

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Twelfth Gay Games

Valencai Gay Games bid

The 2026 Gay Games do not yet have a definite date. However, they will take place between the months of May and June. The event, as explained by the Valencia City Council, will last a little over a week and will host competitions of more than 30 sports. Among them, sports such as the Valencian pilot or the colpbol; water sports, such as sailing, rowing or kayaking polo; and martial arts. Also, team sports – basketball, beach volleyball, hockey, soccer, softball or rugby. Individual sports include fencing, tennis, golf or cycling. There are also novelties, such e-sports or quidditch.

The event, which will also include various cultural activities, could attract, 15,000 athletes and 100,000 visitors. In this sense, “the Gay Games would become the most important sporting event in the Valencian Community, after the America’s Cup”, they candidacy said.

The event is the largest LGTBQI+ sporting event in the world. The Gay Games demonstrate a commitment to sport as a vehicle to show equality and social inclusion. This is not limited to the LGTBQI+ group, but also for any person regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, beliefs and physical and/or intellectual capacities.

The next edition, 2022, will be held in Hong Kong.

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