Up for Bid: The AAU Junior Olympic Games | Sports Destination Management

Up for Bid: The AAU Junior Olympic Games

Jun 19, 2021 | By: Mary Helen Sprecher
In 2013, the AAU Junior Olympic Games were held in Detroit, Michigan. Photo courtesy of AAU

NOBODY can afford to procrastinate on this bid. Not only is a formal letter of intent due on July 1 but it’s the premier domestic multi-sport event for youth. Hosting rights for the AAU Junior Olympic Games are up for grabs and it’s time to make your mark.

The AAU Junior Olympic Games is the largest national multi-sport event conducted annually for youth in the United States and is the showcase event of the AAU Youth Sports Program. The inaugural Games were hosted by Washington, DC in 1967 with two sports and 523 athletes. In 2019, over 18,100 athletes and coaches representing all 50 states participated in 17 sports at the 2019 AAU Junior Olympic Games in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The RFP for the event can be found at this link and contains information on deadlines, materials needed, financial commitments, venue requirements, timelines and other necessary materials.

Sports contested at the AAU Junior Olympic Games are as follows:

  • Baton Twirling
  • Field Hockey
  • Jump Rope
  • Karate
  • Sport Stacking
  • Swimming
  • Taekwondo
  • Track & Field/Multi-Events
  • Trampoline & Tumbling
  • Wrestling (HS Team)
  • Wrestling (Girls)

And did someone ask about economic impact? It’s impressive. Serving as the host of the AAU Junior Olympic Games has proven to be rewarding to those communities involved. The economic impact for the AAU Junior Olympic Games is estimated at $59 million on average for the host cities.

Here are some numbers to crunch:

  • Projected Economic Impact: $59,000,000
  • Participating Athletes and Coaches: 13,000 – 18,000
  • Hotel Room Nights: 28,000 – 32,000
  • Volunteers Needed to Support the Games: 500 - 800
  • AAU Officials and Judges: 500 - 600
  • Sport Venues: Varies
  • Days of Competition: 11
  • Coaches, parents and relatives who will attend the games: 26,000 – 38,00

Years Available for Bid and Proposed Dates:

2026 July 29 through August 8

2027 July 28 through August 7

2028 July 26 through August 5

2029 July 25 through August 4

2030 July 24 through August 3

The AAU Junior Olympic Games will be awarded on a four- or five-year cycle. The AAU reserves the right to select additional or fewer cities or award the event for a different length of time.

Venues: A variety of venues, both indoor and outdoor, will be necessary for sports as well as for the Celebration of Athletes. A list of the types of venues needed, as well as the set-ups required, can be found in the RFP.

Note: In general, all venues need areas for food & beverage/hospitality, concessions, vendors, locked storage, restrooms, parking, etc.

Spectator capacity needs of venues are provided in the RFP; however, note that the largest of these will be the venues to host track & field events (15,000 spectators) and the Celebration of Athletes (also 15,000).

Timeline for awarding this event:

 Step 1: Formal Request by Proposed Host City for Inclusion in the Bid Process. Request due by July 1, 2021, along with the required bid payment and Official Intent Form.

Step 2: Site Visitation to any new cities by AAU Junior Olympic Games Chairperson and/or Senior Sport Manager of the Games. Visit to take place prior to September 15, 2021. The AAU Junior Olympic Games Chairperson may advise the bidding city to proceed or not during the visit.

Step 3: Official Bid and Additional Bid Fee ($20,000) due by September 30, 2021.

Step 4: Presentation to AAU Board of Directors by the AAU Junior Olympic Games Chairperson. This will take place during the 2021 AAU National Convention in Orlando, Florida on October 19, 2021.

Step 5: City notified by AAU President and presented the contract for the year. Once contract is executed, the AAU National Headquarters and Host City will announce the awarding of the bid.

History of AAU Junior Olympic Games by Year and Attendance

Year      Location                           Number of Sports              Number of Coaches        Number of Athletes

2009     Des Moines, IA                19                                      1,966                                           11,836

2010     Hampton Roads, VA       17                                      2,333                                           14,740

2011     New Orleans, LA             19                                      2,370                                           15,727

2012     Houston, TX                     18                                      2,069                                           14,252

2013     Detroit, MI                       18                                      1,628                                           12,569

2014 Des Moines, IA                    19                                      1,643                                           12,030

2015 Hampton Roads, VA            18                                      1,949                                           14,274

2016 Houston, TX                         18                                      1,748                                           14,274

2017 Detroit, MI                           18                                      1,626                                           12,938

2018 Des Moines, IA                    15                                      1,460                                           11,518

2019 Greensboro, NC                  17                                      2,083                                           16,019

2020* Brevard County, FL           12                                      315                                          3,875

*2020 numbers impacted by COVID

Ready to throw your hat into the ring? The RFP is here.

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