Columbus, Ohio (Sept. 2, 2018) – The largest annual, LGBT single-sport, week-long athletic competition in the world will return to Columbus.
For the third time in 10 years, delegates of the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA) selected Columbus, Ohio as the host city for the Gay Softball World Series (GSWS). The 2020 event will take place August 24-29, 2020. Delegates made the decision during NAGAAA’s annual meeting in Tampa on Sunday.
Columbus hosted the GSWS in 2010 and 2015. Linda Logan, executive director, Greater Columbus Sports Commission, said the event should bring more than 5,000 participants from 45 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 spirit,” Logan said. “Bringing the world’s largest annual gay sporting event back to Columbus speaks volumes for our community’s capacity to be a generous host city. It’s just another reason we are growing on the world’s sporting map.”
"Teamwork is important in sports and in life,” said Dallas Aldridge, executive director, GSWS Columbus “Our partnerships helped bring the GSWS back to Columbus and tell the LGBTQ and sporting world what kind of experience Columbus can offer to anyone.”
Aldridge said by the numbers, the GSWS is a winning event for many in the community.
- More than 75 businesses sponsored the 2010 and 2015 GSWS.
- More than 500 volunteers from central Ohio helped produce the GSWS tournament and events.
- More than a dozen non-profits received financial support from charitable donations and food and beverages sales and at the event.
- More than 12,500 attended the closing block party in the Short North Arts District.
“For Columbus to earn the right to host this prestigious event for the third time showcases the public and private partnerships that make The Columbus Way possible for everyone. We can’t wait to show our guests what Columbus brings to the table" said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther.
Chris Balton, Commissioner of NAGAAA, said the Columbus bid was “comprehensive,” from the use of Berliner Park, one the country’s most renowned softball facilities, to the easy access to hotels, restaurants, and community events. “Columbus never fails to raise the bar and bring innovation to the GSWS.”
“As a city, Columbus offers a total package,” Balton said. “The bid also offered new ideas to take GSWS to an even higher level. They’ve knocked this event out of the park in the past, and I’m sure they will do so again in 2020.”
A volunteer Host Committee produces the entire Series and features select members from Columbus' LGBTQ community.
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 45 leagues across the United States and Canada dedicated to promoting amateur athletics for the LGBTQ community.
The Columbus Lesbian and Gay Softball Association (CLGSA) is a 501c(3) organization, founded in 1986, focused on providing opportunity and access for the LGBT community and their allies to participate in organized softball competition. In 2013, CLGSA began a 501c(3) organization focused specifically on securing the bid and the funding to host the GSWS.
The Greater Columbus Sports Commission (GCSC) was formed in June 2002 to provide leadership, guidance and marketing expertise in attracting sporting events to bolster Greater Columbus economically through visitor spending. It has bid on and brought more than 225 new sporting events to Columbus that have generated an estimated $250 million in visitor spending, while also working to retain annual bid events that have generated an additional $180 million.