UK’s Gay Games wait goes on as Liverpool misses 2026 cut

Federation of Gay Games whittles host bids down from 20 to eight, with Liverpool among cities not going through…

By Jon Holmes

Liverpool’s bid to host Gay Games XII in 2026 has come to an end after they failed to make it through to the next stage of the selection process.

It means the UK’s wait to host the quadrennial LGBT+-inclusive sports festival continues.

The first Gay Games was held in San Francisco in 1982 and has grown to become one of the world’s biggest participation events, with over 10,000 people competing in 36 different sports at the last staging in Paris two years ago. The 2022 Games are due to take place in Hong Kong.

On Sunday, a Federation of Gay Games press release confirmed that eight city bids were still in the running to host the 2026 Games. They are…

  • Auckland (New Zealand)
  • Brisbane (Australia)
  • Guadalajara (Mexico)
  • Munich (Germany)
  • San Diego (USA)
  • Taipei (Taiwan)
  • Toronto (Canada)
  • Valencia (Spain)

A record number of 20 bids were in contention to host the 2026 Games.

Along with Liverpool, the other cities not going through included Dublin, as well as 1998 hosts Amsterdam, and Sao Paulo, Lisbon, Cape Town, Durban, Austin, Fort Lauderdale, Minneapolis, New Orleans, and Seattle.

The FGG says the eventual winning bid can expect to boost their city economy by around $100m from the nine-day event period in summer 2026 due to the huge influx of athletes, coaches and spectators that the Games generates.

The 2018 Gay Games were held in Paris

Cities must now present a primary Bid Book by November 1, 2020, with the winning bid set to be announced in February 2022.

Joanie Evans

FGG co-president Joanie Evans said: “I’m very impressed with the number of cities who have bidded for the 2026 Gay Games.

“We are thrilled at both the scale and calibre of entries all vying to host our 2026 event. In this time of worldwide ‘unpredictability’, I have more faith that our message of equality in sport and culture will continue to resonate around the world.”

David Killian, FGG Officer of Site Selection, added: “This is a competitive and lengthy process, and we are grateful for all of the organisations’ hard work.

“The impact that the Gay Games has in host cities is incredible in terms of culture, sport, economic impact, history and most importantly furthering all matters of LGBT+ equality.”

For more information about the Gay Games, visit the Federation of Gay Games website

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