The World Beach Games are coming to San Diego in 2017. If you’ve never heard of this international multi-sport festival, don’t worry. It’s a first for the U.S. and it’s modeled after the Asian Beach Games (which has held four events so far.)
The Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) will organize and produce the inaugural event. Reuters noted the event combines sports traditionally played on sand (one example would be beach tennis) with water sports (like windsurfing or open water swimming), as well as sports often played near beaches, such as skateboarding.
According to the website for the Beach Games, the event in the U.S. is said to include beach-based track & field, wrestling, American flag football, beach tennis, soccer, wrestling, handball, BMX, canoeing, Ultimate, surfing, jet skiing, triathlon, karate, marathon swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, climbing, water polo, windsurfing, e-sports and 3-on-3 basketball – although there is room for more sports to be added. (And since at the moment, the explosively popular sport of sand volleyball isn’t listed, it’s likely that and others will be put in.)
If the event comes off, it would create solid economic impact for San Diego. Inside the Games has stated the World Beach Games could attract up to 5,000 athletes from more than 200 countries. Up to 50,000 spectators would be expected per day at Mission Beach, with an additional 10,000 attending sports held at venues on downtown piers.
The city is banking on these games to cement its image as an international sports venue. San Diego bid unsuccessfully to become the U.S.’s nominating city for the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics; in the bid, San Diego had proposed an arrangement in which it would co-host with Mexican border city Tijuana.
The country’s Olympic hosting hopes are currently pinned on Los Angeles and San Diego organizers are watching the decision-making process closely.
“If Los Angeles fails to win the 2024 Olympic Games, it’s obvious we have to do a good job with the Beach Games,” noted Vincent Mudd, chief executive of the San Diego Exploratory Committee.