A Brief History of the Corporate Games
At Toronto Canada late in 1985 Dr Maureen Johnston, the Founder of the World Masters Games conceived the idea of the World Corporate Games.
Dr. Johnston saw that there was a need for a project that offered everyone of every age and ability the chance to play sport on a worldwide basis, represent a team, wear its colours and be proud to be part of a multisport festival for businesses, organisations, institutions and societies of every size and kind. The Games were to have no barriers to participation and would be the first open equally in every respect to women and men. They would also be the first to integrate participants with disabilities. She founded Sport For Life, a company dedicated to bringing global sport competition within the reach of everyone.
The first requirement was to find a great city to stage the Inaugural Games. Many cities were visited and considered. Dr. Johnston’s choice fell upon San Francisco whose vibrant Mayor, Diane Feinstein, now a Senior US Senator, backed the concept from the beginning.
San Francisco is the business centre of California, close to Silicon Valley and a great destination city for global visitors. The 1st World Corporate Games was staged in 1988 and was an instant success.
Concord, a nearby city in California requested the rights to Host the Games in 1989 and all events were successfully completed. In promoting and publicising the new Games an American athlete ran, swam, roller-skated and kayaked his way across the country from Concord Mass to Concord California visiting 27 other Concords en route.
Hawaii followed and became the 3rd World Corporate Games, attracting many thousands of participants from all around the world to the Islands for a very special Games with medal presentations on the beaches and under the palm trees of Oahu.
In keeping with the worldwide nature of the Games the 4th was held in 1991 in Lille France under the Patronage of President Mitterrand and presented a truly spectacular Opening Celebration in the Stadium du Nord.
In 1991 the 1st Winter World Corporate Games was held in the USA at Steamboat Colorado. Winter Games followed in Austria at Seefeld and Gastein.
London hosted the most impressive World Corporate Games thus far in 1992 when 5126 participated in the great capital city. It was so successful that in 1993 the UK and Ireland Corporate Games was developed and staged in two consecutive years in Milton Keynes. A successful Games has been staged in the UK annually since 1992.
The first license to stage Games outside the world events was granted in 1991 and the 1st Australian Corporate Games began in Sydney in 1993. There were soon Corporate Games held annually in Australia's major cities of Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne which have successfully continued for 25 years.
Malaysia hosted a wonderful World Corporate Games in 1993
Nelson Mandela was Patron of the first multiracial worldwide sports event held in South Africa in the post-apartheid era – the World Corporate Games Johannesburg 1994. 10,676 athletes participated in a truly wonderful and inspiring Games.
One after another the great cities of the world followed including Geneva, Stuttgart, Zagreb, Budapest, Seville, Bilbao and The Hague.
In 1997 Montevideo Uruguay hosted the South American Corporate Games.
In July 2010 Moscow staged the 19th World Corporate Games.
The first All Ireland Corporate Games was held in Belfast in 2004.
Very successful UK Corporate Games have been held every year in a range of powerful UK Cities since the first.
For several years wonderful Games have been staged in Istanbul and Athens with Istanbul Corporate Games having been staged for over 15 years.
The first Games in the Middle East began in 2009 with the Arabian Corporate Games which was renamed the Abu Dhabi Corporate Games from 2012.
The growth of Sport For Life and the Corporate Games has been further increased with the development of the World Corporate Cups and Regional Corporate Cups which are single sport events of all different kinds.
Already there have been annual World Corporate Cups of Soccer, the first held with Manchester United in 2008, the second at Manchester City in 2009, 5 years at Liverpool FC in Anfield, followed by West Ham United and Everton’s Goodison Park respectively. Europe Corporate Cups of Dragonboat, Netball and Soccer have also been successfully staged in Stoke-on-Trent in the UK and in other great destinations like Bucharest, Romania.
Licenses have been granted to organisations in Mexico, Romania, France, Bermuda, South Africa, New Zealand, India, Japan, Canada, Ecuador, Peru the USA and many other interesting places throughout the world from Okinawa to Pakistan. This has led Dr. Johnston to form the Worldwide Corporate Sport Community in which each Games becomes a member.
In 2017 more than 20 major annual events are well-established on the sporting and business calendars of the World, in addition to the World Corporate Games that will be staged in Houston, Texas, USA in November. These are the world’s best team building events for business, organisations and institutions of all types and kind- the Ultimate Mix of Sport, Business and Tourism.
More and more competitors, companies and organisations are enjoying the vast array of benefits delivered in the Worldwide Corporate Sport Community.
From its conception to its most recent staging, the Corporate Games is a truly global movement of weekend sports warriors, those everyday athletes who get fit for business and for life through participation in sport that can last a lifetime.