For Immediate Release
Projected economic impact for the state of New Jersey could top $50 million;
New Jersey Devils announced as hosts of the 2014 Opening Ceremonies at Prudential Center.
NEWARK, NJ – Special Olympics announced today that New Jersey has been selected to host the 2014 Special Olympics USA National Games. The announcement was made at a 1 p.m. press conference at The Prudential Center in Newark. The event was sponsored by the New Jersey Devils and the Prudential Center, who will also be the hosts of the Games’ Opening Ceremonies.
On hand to make the announcement and discuss the impact of hosting one of the largest national events in 2014, were New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; State Senator Stephen Sweeny; TJ Nelligan, Chairman & CEO of the 2014 Games Organizing Committee (GOC); Marc Edenzon, President of Special Olympics New Jersey (SONJ); and Special Olympics Chairman & CEO, Tim Shriver.
“The 2014 Special Olympics USA National Games will produce an unprecedented level of national awareness through the engagement of the largest media market in the world and engage corporate leadership from the tri-state area and throughout the country,” said Nelligan, who also has a son in the SONJ program. “The Games will also provide athletes with the highest quality of sports competition, while creating an environment of understanding and acceptance on the playing field, creating a model for unified schools and communities across the country through our athletes’ achievement in sport.”
The USA National Games will take place June 13 – 21, 2014 and be centered in and around Princeton and the Greater Mercer County area. Venues will include Princeton University, Rider University, The College of New Jersey, and Mercer County Park. The New Jersey Devils have offered The Prudential Center as the venue for the Opening Ceremonies.
The National Games will feature nearly 3,500 athletes competing in 14 Olympic-style sports, with the support of 1,000 coaches, 8,000 volunteers and an estimated 50,000 family, friends and spectators. Non-competitive special events will include the Final Leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run™ that will symbolize the start of the competition and Healthy Athletes, a place where the athletes can get vital health screenings. Youth and education events will also be held in conjunction with the Games as young leaders rally around making change for the better of the Special Olympics movement and promoting acceptance of those with intellectual disabilities.
The 2014 Games will bring an estimated 80,000 people to the greater Mercer/Middlesex County areas. It is projected, based upon past Special Olympics Games, that hotel room nights, dining, shopping, car rentals, tourism and more could reach $50 million during the week of the Games.
“Hosting the Special Olympics USA National Games is about making an impact,” said Shriver. “It’s about impacting the lives of Special Olympics athletes who have trained, worked hard and are ready to compete at the national level. But even more importantly, it’s about impacting the lives of guests, spectators, families and fans that come to watch the competitions and enjoy the events and end up going through a transformation so powerful it changes entire communities. It’s about impacting the local and state economies that will reap the benefits of having an estimated influx of 80,000 people staying at hotels, eating in restaurants and shopping in local stores while experiencing the great state of New Jersey. It’s about the everlasting impact these Games will leave behind after those seven days in June—the legacy of acceptance, inclusion and respect.”
New Jersey’s selection was based on many factors from the proximity of major media markets to the potential of large corporate support as well as the financial strength of the Special Olympics New Jersey (SONJ) program and its history of volunteer support and innovative programming.
“As an organization, Special Olympics New Jersey is prepared to provide technical assistance to the 2014 GOC and share our established resources and experience to ensure that these Games are the best in US history,” said Marc Edenzon, President of SONJ. “These Games will lay the strategic groundwork for growth in our program and produce an unprecedented culture of acceptance and unity in communities across New Jersey and the country for many years to come.”
The USA National Games are held every four years. The last were held in Lincoln, Nebraska in June of 2010. The next Special Olympics World Summer Games will be held in Athens, Greece, June 25 to July 4, 2011.
For more information on the 2014 USA National Games, please visit www.2014specialolympics.org.
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to nearly 3.5 million athletes in over 170 countries in all regions of the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition health screenings, and other related programs. Special Olympics now takes place every day, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities in all regions of the world and in community playgrounds and ball fields in every small neighborhood’s backyard. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org.