Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe was in Vienna Wednesday in his new role as honorary chairman of the 2015 World Police and Fire Games; which will bring an estimated 30,000 visitors to Fairfax County a little over a year from now.
The governor, along with a who’s who of Fairfax County first responders and Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova, were at the Wolf Trap Fairfax County Fire Station number 42, to announce the games’ corporate sponsors and new funding provided by the county. The board of supervisors recently approved $2 million in funding for the games, supplementing its prior funding and in-kind contributions. “Fairfax County has pledged $3 million to host and sponsor the games,” said Bulova. “With several more million in staffing and public safety to come.”
The 10-day games, beginning June 26, 2015, are expected to attract in excess of 30,000 visitors and generate between $80 and $100 million of economic activity to the D.C. region.
Outnumbering even the Summer Olympics in terms of competitors (10,568 athletes participated in the 2012 London Summer Games), the first-responder-based athletic games — known locally as Fairfax 2015 — will play host to more than 12,000 police, fire and emergency athletes as they take part in more than 60 sporting events.
The activities will take place in Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C., and parts of Maryland, but officials say 80 percent of the games will take place in Fairfax County at various venues.
“Hotel reservations are already brisk,” said Bulova.
Barry Biggar, CEO of Visit Fairfax, said Fairfax County has never before hosted an event of this magnitude.
“It is certainly the single largest event we have ever seen,” he said. “The direct economic impact to the region is $80 million, but if you factor in the indirect economics such as the hundreds of extra people that local restaurants and hotels will employ during the games, and the money from those paychecks that will likely be spent here as well, the real figure is more like $100 million.”
The budget to pull off the massive 60-sport, Olympic-style event is estimated at $20 million according to Fairfax 2015 officials.
“We still need to raise $10 million, so let’s not be shy” said Gov. McAuliffe. “If there is one thing I have learned supporting law enforcement and fire organizations over my years in public service, it’s that police officers, sheriffs’ deputies and firefighters are intensely competitive. Fairfax 2015 will showcase these great athletes and offer a great boost to the Commonwealth’s tourism industry. Virginia and Fairfax County are the perfect hosts for this great event and we are ready to let the games begin.”
For additional information about the games, including information about corporate sponsorship, go to www.fairfax2015.com, or call 202-480-9734.