COLUMBUS, OH (May 29, 2020) – The largest annual LGBTQ single sport athletic competition in the world will return to Columbus a year later than originally scheduled.
For the third time in 10 years, delegates of the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA) selected Columbus as the host city for the Gay Softball World Series (GSWS). Prior to COVID-19, the 2020 event was scheduled to take place Aug. 24-29.
NAGAAA, working in cooperation with its future host cities and their stakeholders, reached an agreement to shift the GSWS location by one year, maintaining the current host city order. Columbus will host the next GSWS in 2021 from Aug. 30-Sept. 4. Dallas will host 2022 and Minneapolis will host 2023. Additionally, Orlando and Las Vegas will both bid for the 2024 GSWS.
"Teamwork is important in sports and in life,” said Dallas Aldridge, executive director, GSWS Columbus Host Committee. “Although this was an extremely tough decision to postpone the event by a year, everyone involved came together and placed the safety and health of our players, umpires, fans, volunteers and committee members first.”
Linda Logan, executive director for the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, expects the event to bring more than 5,000 participants from 46 cities, 25 states and several Canadian provinces. That adds up to more than $7 million in direct visitor spending and over 7,000 hotel room nights during the competition.
“The Gay Softball World Series showcases tremendous athletes and community spirit,” Logan said. “Welcoming the world’s largest annual gay sporting event back to Columbus speaks volumes for our capacity to be a generous host city. We value our partnership with NAGAAA and appreciate all of the efforts that went into in making this decision to move to next year.”
When Columbus hosted the event in 2010 and 2015, more than 500 volunteers helped produce the GSWS tournament and its ancillary events. Additionally, a dozen-plus local nonprofits received financial support from charitable donations and food and beverage sales that took place during the GSWS.
"The NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series is an incredible event for our progressive city. While we're saddened that we will not be hosting the event for a third time in 2020, Columbus will welcome this prestigious event with open arms in 2021," said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther.
“We’re excited we were able to work out a solution that allows NAGAAA’s players to return to Columbus for a third time,” said John Deffee, NAGAAA Commissioner. “We value the partnerships we’ve created within the City of Columbus and look forward to work with them to make this event a huge success.”
About GSWS Columbus
Originally organized through the Columbus Lesbian and Gay Softball Association, a 501c(3) organization founded in 1986, CLGSA is focused on providing opportunity and access for the LGBT community and their allies to participate in organized softball competition. GSWS Columbus became an independent 501c(3) organization in 2013 and focuses specifically on securing the bid and the funding to host the GSWS in Columbus.
About the Greater Columbus Sports Commission
The Greater Columbus Sports Commission is a nonprofit organization with a mission to rally Columbus to compete and win sporting events, providing a singular athlete and fan experience and positively impacting image, economy and lifestyle. Since 2002, the Greater Columbus Sports Commission has booked more than 500 new sporting events for the Columbus Region, generating an estimated $605 million in visitor spending. Those millions of dollars go back into the city, improving quality of life for the community and boosting economic growth. Visit columbussports.org to learn more.
The North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA) Open Division is a 501c(3) international sports organization, created in 1977 comprised of 17,000 players in 46 leagues across the United States and Canada dedicated to promoting amateur athletics for the LGBTQ community.