Special Olympics Australia is one step closer to making their dream come true after formally lodging its bid on 15 July to host the Summer World Games in Perth in 2027.
The bid team, led by Special Olympics Australia working in partnership with pro bono consulting partner Deloitte, developed a hefty 384-page bid putting forward a compelling case for Australia to be awarded as the host nation, with Perth to be the host city.
“Australia is poised to lead the way in inclusion, providing a platform for people with intellectual disability to compete and be seen and heard around the globe,” said Tanya Brown, Board Director, Special Olympics Australia.
“We live in a beautiful State with so much to offer to international visitors and we are all super excited to be able to showcase Perth to the world by hosting the largest humanitarian event on the planet,” said Ms Brown.
Special Olympics is a global organisation providing people with Intellectual Disability (ID) opportunities to participate in grassroots community sports, social inclusion and lifestyle programs, as well as providing a unique ‘games pathway’ to participate and compete in State, National and World Games.
Held every four years, previous host cities include Los Angeles, Dublin, Shanghai, Abu Dhabi and, in 2023, Berlin. Attracting high profile speakers and celebrities, previous World Games have been attended by Nelson Mandela, Michelle Obama, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Muhammad Ali with entertainment provided by U2, Stevie Wonder, Avril Lavigne and The Corrs.
If Perth secures the right to be the host city for an Australia-based Games, the potential for world-wide attention is huge, generating a healthy return on investment of $212 million, according to Ernst & Young who helped prepare the business case in 2021.
With no requirement for significant spend on infrastructure, the bid team believes the opportunity to host the World Games is a golden opportunity to showcase all the many attractions of WA and Australia.
“The World Games are not just a sporting event, they are so much more,” she said.
“Never held in the Southern Hemisphere before, they are an opportunity for some of the most marginalised members of our communities to come together to compete in a demonstration of humanity.”
Some 8,000 athletes from 170 nations will converge at the World Games, competing in 23 sports over 10 days. The event attracts close to 20,000 international visitors associated with the participants, as well as an additional 7,650 interstate visitors. Add to that over 500,000 spectators over the course of the sporting program as well as a spectacular opening and closing ceremony to be held at Optus Stadium and Special Olympics Australia believes this is Perth’s for the taking.
The worldwide audience alone is immense and amplified through the global partnership with ESPN.
“The World Games 2019 held in Abu Dhabi had enormous media impact, with 69.1 billion total media impressions and more than 60 broadcasters from 183 countries reaching 760 million households,” said Ms Brown.
Special Olympics Australia has developed an exciting communications plan and has commenced discussions with broadcasters to ensure there is significant domestic media coverage. The bid was accompanied by 96 Letters of Support from business and community leaders, government officials and the media.
“We are thrilled, not just for the opportunity this presents for our 3,500 members and 850,000 people in our community who have intellectual disability, but for our entire population to see the often-invisible people with intellectual disability who make such a significant contribution to our society in so many different ways,” said Ms Brown.
“Sport is a vital component in everyone’s wellbeing and is a universal language that transcends barriers across culture, language and geography. People of all abilities can play sport and should have the opportunity to compete on the world stage.”
Special Olympics Australia is now seeking corporate partners to help bring the World Games to Perth.
“To quote the Special Olympics Athletes Oath “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt,” said Ms Brown.
“We are bravely putting Australia forward as a nation ready to embrace change and we will win the bid and bring this extraordinary, life-changing experience to our country.”
Last week, Special Olympics Australia was informed they have been shortlisted as one of the top two bidding nations. A delegation from Special Olympics International will come to Perth in October, with a final announcement about the World Games 2027 host nation to be made later this year.
Visit specialolympics.com.au for more information