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North Carolina bounces back by landing 2029 Summer World University Games

Featured image credit: FISU

The US state of North Carolina has secured the 2029 Summer World University Games, less than two months after suffering the disappointment of missing out on hosting rights to the 2027 edition of the multi-sport event.

In November, Chungcheong in South Korea was awarded hosting rights for the summer edition of the World University Games in 2027, with the International University Sports Federation (FISU) choosing its candidacy over that of North Carolina’s.

FISU visited both prospective hosts before making its decision, with Chungcheong and North Carolina praised for their “excellent facilities, widespread support and cultures of university sport excellence”.

Concerning North Carolina’s bid for 2027, FISU acting president Leonz Eder said at the time that the federation “would be delighted” to have the state as a host for a future World University Games “at the first available opportunity”.

This has now come to fruition with FISU’s Executive Committee forgoing the usual bidding process to assign the rights to the 2029 Games. The announcement was made yesterday (Tuesday) as the Executive Committee met prior to the start of the 2023 Winter World University Games, which commences in Lake Placid and the Adirondack region tomorrow.

The event, which runs through to January 22, marks the first time the World University Games have been held in the United States in 51 years. Lake Placid was previously host in 1972. Eder said: “We were very impressed with what North Carolina has to offer for the FISU World University Games from our site visits, their candidature dossiers, and the presentation to our Executive Committee in conjunction with their original bid for 2027.

“Even though North Carolina was not successful with its bid for the 2027 FISU Games last autumn, we have worked diligently with our membership and staff since then, on the best way to secure North Carolina USA as a future host of the FISU World University Games. It is important for our national university sports federations that we offer as much certainty for them as possible for the future and we’re grateful for this opportunity to do so.” 

The Summer World University Games have only been held once in the United States, in 1993 in Buffalo, New York. In June, FISU announced that the 2021 Games will take place in the Chinese city of Chengdu from July 28 to August 8 this year after twice being postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The event is then set to travel to the Rhein-Ruhr region of Germany in 2025 and Chungcheong in 2027. 

North Carolina’s bid to host the World University Games focuses on central North Carolina, in a region stretching from Raleigh to Greensboro, encompassing the Triangle and Triad areas of the state. The region includes 19 colleges and universities and has been branded as North Carolina’s University Hub. 

The bid plan details the utilisation of school facilities at Duke, Durham Tech, Elon, Meredith, North Carolina A&T, N.C. Central, N.C. State, Shaw, St. Augustine’s, North Carolina, UNC Greensboro, Wake Tech and William Peace.

Hill Carrow, chairman and CEO of the North Carolina Bid Committee, said: “The award of the 2029 FISU World University Games to our state and country is the culmination of an extensive five-year effort by more than 1,000 individuals, 13 universities, five cities, five counties, the State of North Carolina, and 53 corporate and organisational sponsors to land this amazing event.

“As an event that features the best collegiate athletes from around the world, it is a natural fit for a state with 130 colleges and universities and more than 350,000 university students. North Carolina landing these Games is similar to a major corporate relocation as the FISU Games will deliver a local economic impact of over $150m (£123.6m/€139.6m), but with the added benefits of significant international tourism and worldwide branding exposure for our state and local communities.”