First, the National Senior Games brought upwards of 10,500 athletes (and an additional 15,000 family, friends and spectators) to Birmingham, Alabama. Now, this summer of multi-sport games focuses on West Michigan, where 25,000 athletes will be competing in the State Games of America, to take place between August 3-6.
The 25,000 athletes is a great number, but it’s not the only one worth crunching on. Here, courtesy of the West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC), are a few others:
47: Number of states (plus the District of Columbia and Canada) represented by athletes
25,000: Total number of attendees, including athlete families
4,000: The number of out-of-state athletes participating
60: percentage between 10 and 19 years old
5,500: Number of hotel rooms booked at 30 partner hotels from Kalamazoo to Big Rapids
1,000-plus: The number of volunteers that will be required
48/60: The number of sports presented/number of events within those sports. Bonus trivia: Sports include everything from figure skating (the State Games of America events also serve as the U.S. Figure Skating National Competition), to pickleball and swimming
35: How many venues across West Michigan will be used for the event
$10 million: Estimated economic impact from direct visitor spending
The variety of sports, and the types of surfaces that will accommodate them, is also staggering: from beach wrestling in North Muskegon, to sporting clay shooting in Caledonia, to golf in Cedar Springs and everything in between.
The State Games of America is a biennial Olympic-style event featuring competition between State Games medal winners (gold, silver, and bronze) from the 30 states who conduct or organize statewide sports festivals known as State Games. The West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC), Experience Grand Rapids and Meijer State Games of Michigan partnered to bid on and host the 2017 State Games of America, beating San Diego; Lincoln, Neb. and Hampton Roads, Va. The 2015 State Games of America was held in Lincoln. Other host cities have included St. Louis, Colorado Springs and San Diego. Grand Rapids is the first Michigan city to host a State Games of America.
“We are ready and excited to host the nation’s top athletes in one of America’s largest multi-sport competitions right in our backyard,” said Eric Engelbarts, executive director of the Meijer State Games of Michigan and event director of the 2017 State Games of America. “This journey began in 2014 when we pitched the National Congress of State Games on why Grand Rapids should host this event, and now we’re on the brink of welcoming thousands of athletes to compete in venues across the region.”
“While participants will vie to win gold, silver and bronze medals, all of West Michigan wins with full hotel rooms, restaurants and other businesses at capacity,” said Mike Guswiler, president of the WMSC. “Our community will be amazed to see the sheer size and scope of the games as we roll out the red carpet to host this premier event while showcasing all West Michigan has to offer.”
The National Congress of State Games (NCSG) is a membership organization comprised of 30 State Games organizations and a member of the United States Olympic Committee's Multi Sport Organizational Council. The NCSG is the rights holder of the State Games of America, an Olympic-style event featuring competition between State Games medal winners (gold, silver, bronze) from across the nation.