The State Games of America, which brought thousands of athletes from around the country to Lincoln and the surrounding area in late July and early August, received the Outstanding Event Award for communities with populations greater than 10,000 at the Celebrate Nebraska Awards Gala held recently in Columbus, Neb.
The State Games of America is an all-ages sports festival featuring competition in 67 sports. Work began in 2011 to acquire hosting rights and after a formal bidding process, Nebraska was given the nod. The state was picked because of its track record of hosting national sporting events, Nebraska Sports Council’s reputation and the quality of the local sports venues.
Fundraising efforts secured $1.5 million from more than 450 companies. A community impact grant helped fuel the way for 10 state games committees and the several partnerships with businesses, agencies and educational institutions, all of which, combine efforts to organize and promote the games.
The opening ceremony was attended by 30,000 people with competitors representing 27 different states. An estimated 10,000 room nights were booked and the average hotel stay was three nights. The event generated an estimated economic impact of more than $20 million.
“This was an outstanding event that brought together the efforts of many people in many different communities,” officials announced at the event in Columbus, which capped the annual Nebraska Tourism Conference organized by the Nebraska Tourism Commission and hosted by the Columbus/Platte County Convention and Visitors Bureau.