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World Urban Games move from Los Angeles to Budapest

World Urban Games move from Los Angeles to Budapest
Los Angeles won the bidding for the inaugural World Urban Games but has been replaced by Budapest. (Global Assn. of International Sports Federations)

Los Angeles has been replaced as host of the World Urban Games, a festival of nontraditional and emerging Olympic sports set to debut later this year.

The international event will shift to Budapest, Hungary, which had been identified as a top candidate in the initial bidding, officials from the Global Assn. of International Sports Federations said Monday.

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“We are grateful to our friends in Budapest for their enthusiasm and commitment to the World Urban Games,” GAISF President Raffaele Chiulli said in a statement.

Los Angeles Times owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong had agreed to underwrite the competition but local organizers ran into disagreements with the GAISF over the events that would be included.

The biennial games were established to showcase as many as 14 disciplines, including sports such as three-on-three basketball, skateboarding, parkour and BMX freestyle cycling.

With additional elements of food, music and art, the competition was expected to draw 700 athletes, 300 referees and thousands of spectators to El Segundo in September.

If the 2019 debut was successful, L.A. had been pegged to host again in 2021.

GAISF officials did not offer any further details, saying only that Budapest’s proposed sports program was “more in line” with their vision.

The Hungarian capital was also chosen to step in for 2021.

The Los Angeles event will continue independently as the “L.A. Street Festival,” which will take place over two days and nights in El Segundo, with a program featuring 3-on-3 basketball, e-sports and a cultural festival.

Soon-Shiong, in a statement, said his involvement with the World Urban Games started with a conversation he had with a friend, former FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann, who died in October.

“Together with members of the organizing committee, I’d hoped to see Patrick’s vision through, to create the first World Urban Games, and host it here,” Soon-Shiong said. “As we reviewed the requirements with GAISF, we proposed a more focused event for the first year out. We wanted to build on the popularity of 3 x 3 basketball and esports and create a festival that would engage young people across the community. That proposal became the L.A. Street Festival, which we will produce and host this September.”

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