The National Senior Games are moving to 2022, a move designed to buy the event and host Fort Lauderdale more time to maximize participation and travel.
“It became clear that having several more months of economic recovery and time for the pandemic to subside made postponement the obvious decision for all,” said National Senior Games Association CEO Marc Riker in a statement.
The games, originally set for November 2021, will now be held May 10-23, 2022.
The biennial National Senior Games are a celebration for individuals who remain active in their later years. More than 14,000 athletes at least 50 years old competed in 20 sports during the record-breaking 2019 games in Albuquerque, N.M. The NSGA estimates its event had a $35 million impact on the region.
Fort Lauderdale seems to be an ideal setting for the event’s next edition. A $1 billion upgrade of Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, which will serve as a hub for the National Senior Games, is underway. Expanded exhibit space is scheduled to be completed in fall 2021, well ahead of the event.
When Riker made the initial announcement that the Florida hub would host the event, original projections included a $38 million economic impact. While it’s unclear that goal is achievable in a post-pandemic world, Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB Vice President of Sports Development Mike Sophia remains excited for the games to go on.
“Our 23 miles of golden beaches, a wide variety of hotels and great restaurants, along with some great sports venues, are awaiting the arrival of the athletes in 2022,” he said.
NSGA is in the process of reconfirming venues with the new dates—a far easier task than starting over in a new destination.
While many of the participants for the games are first in line for COVID-19 vaccines, NSGA’s board of directors felt additional time to ease any travel fears would only benefit the event. Riker also noted moving into 2022 allows more time for airlines, hotels and other businesses to recover economically from the pandemic.
“This will result in high-quality games hosted by a welcoming community,” predicts NSGA board Chair Jack Shinnock.