Valencia is a diverse, free, open and welcoming city, proud of its capacity for integration and sensitivity with all its citizens and visitors. A city committed to the quality of life of its citizens and a city in which all groups can live together in harmony with the guarantee that their freedom and rights are upheld.
Valencia is a modern city that respects human rights and diversity in every aspect and understands that tourism is an activity that builds bridges between cultures and people. The city also works to promote equality in sport and end discrimination that may occur in sport for whatever reason.
With all this in mind and through the administrative collaboration of Spanish Government, the Generalitat Valenciana, the Valencia Provincial Council and the Valencia City Council, the city of Valencia is putting itself forward to host the “Gay Games 2026” sporting and cultural event.
1. What are the Gay Games?
The Gay Games is a sporting and cultural event whose fundamental values are participation, inclusion and the search for the best personal record. Its mission is to promote equality among all and in particular for the LGBTQ + collective. However, despite its name, the games are not exclusive to the LGBTQ + community but are in fact open to anyone regardless of sex, race or ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation or religion.
The event lasts 12 days and, if Valencia were to be the chosen city, would be held between May 27 and June 7, 2026. During this period, 36 sports and between 11 and 15 cultural events would take place. Between 13,000 and 15,000 participants are expected (12,000 in sporting events and 1,000-3,000 in cultural events) and around 100,000 visitors.
The economic impact of the last edition of the Gay Games in 2018 was 97 million euros for its host city of Paris. In the case of Valencia, the amount is estimated to be around 106 million euros. With regards to the number of participants from Paris, 23% were French and only 12% were from Paris, which indicates the stature of the event on an international level. It should be noted that often around a third of the participants travel from the US.
Before Paris, the games were held in Cleveland (2014), Cologne (2010), Chicago (2006), Sydney (2002), Amsterdam (1998), New York (1994), Vancouver (1990), San Francisco (1986 and 1982). The next edition of the Gay Games will take place in Hong Kong in 2022.
2. Why Valencia?
Valencia has consolidated experience in organising large-scale sporting events, both on a national and international level, such as the Valencia – Trinidad Alfonso Marathon, the America’s Cup, Formula One, the Davis Cup Quarterfinals in 2018 or, more recently and under COVID-19 safety requirements, the Liga Endesa Final in 2020. Cultural events the size of Les Arts Festival or MTV Winter also bolster the city’s credentials to host large scale cultural events.
Making Valencia the host of the Gay Games would also consolidate the city’s positioning as an international sports destination. Valencia aspires to be one of the priority destinations in Europe and across the world for the LGBTQ+ community, hosting this event is key to its strategic positioning.
Valencia’s integrated candidacy is based on consensus, on public-private collaboration and on wide-scale societal participation. Sports clubs, associations and LGTBQ + groups from all over Spain and the private sector have not only endorsed but also participated in the development of the project, creating a multisectoral network to uphold diversity and inclusion.
The accommodation proposition for participants features 40,000 different places, including hotels and tourist apartments. Around 140 public sporting centres make up Valencia’s sports facilities, most of them being within perfect walking distances. It is also an event aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, mainly with goal 10 “Reduction of inequalities”, as well as with the United Nations 2030 Agenda which are commitments that the Valencia City Council has already undertaken.
Valencia is currently in competition with seven other cities: Brisbane, Auckland, Taipei, Toronto, San Diego, Guadalajara (Mexico) and Munich, ahead of the next phase which following the announcement on 31 January will leave only three finalists.
The city will find out on the 31st January whether it is one of three finalists.