Los Angeles edges out Budapest for inaugural World Urban Games

The Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) has selected Los Angeles as the host of its inaugural World Urban Games in 2019, with the US city lined up to also stage the second edition two years later.

GAISF chose Los Angeles ahead of a rival bid from Budapest, Hungary. The agreement for the 2021 edition is conditional on the success of the 2019 multi-sport event.

The World Urban Games concept was launched at April’s SportAccord conference in Bangkok and had been spearheaded by former GAISF president Patrick Baumann, who died suddenly last month. GAISF said that four cities had initially engaged in the award process to host the inaugural event in 2019.

GAISF senior vice-president Raffaele Chiulli, who was confirmed as the organisation’s new leader yesterday (Monday), said: “LA is a young, vibrant and creative city which has helped to shape youth culture and the urban sports which are the very heart of the World Urban Games.

“These Games will be a five-day festival combining new-generation sports, music and culture and LA promises a huge welcome for the world’s leading urban sports athletes and fans from across the world.

“In awarding the first two editions of the World Urban Games to Los Angeles and with the commitment of an organising committee supported by the Los Angeles Times organisation, we are confident that we have given our new competition the best possible start in life. Los Angeles will give it the opportunity to become established, flourish and become a key part of the international sports calendar for many years to come.”

Organised by International Federations under the auspices of GAISF, the World Urban Games will feature up to 700 athletes in seven urban sports. Competition events will include 3×3 basketball, BMX freestyle, sports climbing bouldering, break dancing, freestyle flying disc, parkour, skateboard street and park, and roller freestyle. In addition to these competitions, an urban sports showcase will feature up to 100 athletes in at least four other disciplines.

The organising committee plans to stage the event near Los Angeles International Airport in a central, compact location accessible by public transportation and close to freeways. A purpose-built urban park will be constructed in El Segundo in time for the inaugural event, to ensure sustainability and facilitate continued engagement with the local communities.

Patrick Soon-Shiong, chairman and chief executive of NantWorks and owner and executive chairman of the Los Angeles Times, will chair the World Urban Games LA Organising Committee.

He said: “The World Urban Games multi-sport concept brings the Olympic Movement and International Federations into this next generation of sports. Together with GAISF and the International Olympic Committee, we will support the further development of sports programs to highlight the evolving youth sports landscape.”