After winning a three-year bidding war against other U.S. cities and seven countries to host the inaugural Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) World Beach Games this year, San Diego will no longer host the 2019 event.
According to a news release, ANOC has decided to relocate to a new host city that can provide “the best possible environment for NOCs and their athletes;” it is currently in discussion with a number of cities that can provide the financial backing and has experience hosting “world class events”. Once that decision has been finalized, an announcement will be made.
“Due to challenges with securing the necessary sponsorships for the inaugural 2019 ANOC World Beach Games in San Diego this October, and the time sensitivity, we have regretfully learned the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) has decided to withdraw the event from San Diego,” said Vince Mudd, chair of the San Diego Exploratory Foundation and the 2019 local organizing president for the San Diego ANOC World Beach Games, in a statement. “San Diego has a long history of successfully hosting major events, including Super Bowls and World Series among others... At the end of the day, we simply could not reach financial agreements that were amenable to both sides. This was a first-time event with no historical private-sector support and we were prepared to meet ANOC’s goals. While disappointed in ANOC’s decision, we will remain in communication with their team.”
To Mudd’s point, San Diego has been host to many international sports events over the years — though not with regular frequency except for international soccer matches. The Breeders’ Cup World Championships was held at Del Mar in 2017. The America’s Cup sailing event was held in the city in 1988, 1992 and 1995. The U.S. Open golf tournament was at Torrey Pines in 2008 and is returning in 2021. There have been the occasional special events, such as the World Baseball Classic, world rugby games, surfing championships and Red Bull air races.
During a May 2018 news conference, Mudd told members of the media that the ANOC games would attract 1,300 athletes representing over 200 countries and playing in 15 sports and 17 disciplines. Additionally, more than 400,000 fans were expected to attend the multisport event.
After the initial announcement, many predicted the event would be a catalyst for drawing other major sports events to San Diego.
“This will probably be the largest delegation of international visitors that we ever had, and that includes the World’s Fair 101 years ago,” Mudd said during the event, with Mike McDowell of the San Diego Tourism Authority adding: “tens of thousands hotel rooms will be occupied by athletes, their families and fans.”
With a budget of $39 million, the ANOC World Beach Games San Diego 2019 was scheduled to take place Oct. 10-14. It is unclear if it will be held during the same dates in the new host city at press time.
What is certain, according to the release, is that more than 70 NOCs have qualified for the inaugural ANOC World Beach Games and that the event will include beach, water and action sports.