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Valencia bids to host the 2026 Gay Games

15/12/2020 València | 03.03.2021 | 12:20

  • The event would have a financial impact of 120 million euros

Valencia is a diverse, progressive, open-minded and friendly city, proud of its inclusiveness and sensitivity to the needs of citizens and visitors alike. Committed to the quality of life of its citizens, it is a city in which all sectors of society live in peace and harmony, in the knowledge that their rights and freedoms are guaranteed.

Valencia is a modern city that respects human rights, plurality and diversity, and that views tourism as an opportunity to build bridges between cultures and people. At the same time, it is a city that makes concerted efforts to encourage egalitarian sport and abolish every type of discrimination in this area.

For all of these reasons, and thanks to the cooperation between the Government of Spain, the Regional Government of Valencia, the Provincial Council of Valencia and Valencia City Council, the city is bidding to host the 2026 Gay Games, a major sporting and cultural event.



The Gay Games are a sporting and cultural event built upon the core principles of Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best.  Their mission is to promote equality between all athletes and especially for the LGBTQ+ community.

In spite of their name, the games are not just open to the gay athletes but to everyone, regardless of gender, race, ethnic origin, physical challenge, sexual orientation or religion.

The event lasts 12 days and if Valencia is chosen as the host city, it will be held between 27 May and 7 June 2026 and will comprise 36 sports and 11 to 15 cultural events.

The event is likely to attract 13,000 to 15,000 participants (12,000 for the sports and 1,000 to 3,000 for the cultural events) and nearly 100,000 visitors.

The impact of the last edition of the Gay Games, held in Paris in 2018, was 97 million euros. Valencia could expect to see a financial impact of around 120 million euros. In terms of participants at the Paris edition, 23% were French and just 12% were from Paris, which demonstrates the international scale of the event. In fact, 33% of participants usually come from the US.

Prior to Paris, the games have been held in Cleveland (2014), Cologne (2010), Chicago (2006), Sidney (2002), Amsterdam (1998), New York (1994), Vancouver (1990) and San Francisco (1986 and 1982). The next edition of the Gay Games will take place in Hong Kong in 2022.



Valencia has a proven track record of organising major national and international sporting events, such as the Valencia-Trinidad Alfonso Marathon, the America’s Cup, Formula One, the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup in 2018 and, more recently and under stringent health regulations due to Covid-19, the final of the 2020 Liga Endesa. Meanwhile, the Festival de Les Arts and MTV Winter endorse the city's experience in hosting major cultural events and offer a guarantee for the organisers.

Thanks to a highly professional tourism sector and the hospitality for which the people of Valencia are renowned, participants and their companions can look forward to a first-rate experience in terms of leisure, culture and cuisine. Hosting the Gay Games would also consolidate Valencia's status as an international sports destination. Valencia aspires to become of one of the leading destinations in Europe and the wider world for the LGBTQ+ community, and playing host to this event is crucial for its strategic positioning.

The city's bid is built around its inclusiveness, based on consensus, public-private partnerships and the involvement of the broadest possible social fabric. Sports clubs, associations and LGTBQ+ groups from all over Spain, plus the business sector and numerous other stakeholders, do not only endorse but are actively involved in developing the project as part of a dense multidisciplinary and multisectoral network of support for diversity and inclusion.

Turia is also one of the safest cities in the world, having seen its crime rate fall steadily over the past decade. 

As for accommodation, hotels and tourist apartments will be able to offer 40,000 places to participants, while Valencia boasts nearly 140 public sports facilities, most of them within walking distance.

The Gay Games are also aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically with Goal 10 ("Reduce inequality within and among countries"), and with the United Nations 2030 Agenda, both pledges to which Valencia City Council is firmly committed.

Valencia is currently competing with another two cities: Guadalajara (Mexico) and Munich.



The message is clear: Valencia aims to become a "Beacon of Diversity" by hosting such an important event for the LGBTQ+ community. A beacon and clear messages that will enable us to set a shining example and help to open up paths in other regions of the world where the gay community is subjected to severe aggression and the violation of their basic rights.





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