Gay Games 2026 hosting bid won by Valencia – a first for Spain

Published by Jon Holmes on

Spanish city bid named presumptive host for Gay Games XII, set to take place three years after rescheduled event in Hong Kong in 2023; disappointment for Munich and Guadalajara; vote held at Gay Games AGM in Brighton; “Our dream has come true,” say Valencia’s bid organisers

By Jon Holmes

The Gay Games will return to Europe in 2026 – and will be held in Spain for the first time in its history – after Valencia was named presumptive host for the 12th edition of the multisports event.

At the Royal Pavilion in Brighton on Thursday, the Federation of Gay Games announced the winning bid at the conclusion of its Annual General Meeting.

The cities of Munich and Guadalajara were left disappointed.

Congratulating the Valencia bid, FGG co-president Joanie Evans said: “We are so excited to be heading there in 2026.

“As someone who has been on a bid team (London 2018), I know the heartache of not winning and I want to recognise our two other finalists, Guadalajara and Munich.

“That said, we feel that Valencia will bring a rich dimension to the Games and, this being the first time a Games will be held in Spain, it will have a positive impact on the city.”

Evans’ fellow co-president Sean Fitzgerald added: “All finalist bid cities did an amazing job in delivering their final presentations but at the end of the day, there can only be one host city.

“We are delighted it is Valencia and we are confident that the team will do an incredible job of bringing the Gay Games principles to their city.”

The next edition of the Gay Games will be held in Hong Kong in November 2023, with the event rescheduled due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The bidding process for 2026 began with 20 cities from six continents before the final three were named in February.

Amsterdam, Cologne and Paris are the only European cities to have previously hosted the Gay Games.

In an Instagram post, the Valencia bid organisers wrote: “Our dream has come true and we can officially say that we will host the XII edition of the Gay Games in 2026. It is an event that will make Valencia a world benchmark in inclusion, equality, diversity, respect and will help us fight for the promotion of human rights.

“Thank you very much for your support! Now get ready to participate because we want to see how you enjoy sports and culture in Valencia. We are waiting for you with open arms – you will discover an open, diverse, inclusive and sustainable city, a place that adapts to you and works to make you feel safe and comfortable.”

The provisional dates for the 12th staging are May 27 to June 7, 2026.

For more information, see EIN Presswire.

Read more about the voting process in Roger Brigham’s latest Bay Area Reporter ‘Jock Talk’ column

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Jon Holmes

Digital Sports Editor