Featured in the April/ May 2018 Travel Issue of Compete Magazine
As the liberal capital of a conservative state, Salt Lake accepts and warmly embraces the LGBTQ+ community. So it was no surprise to locals when several years ago the Advocate magazine named Salt Lake “The Gayest City in America.” And we recently celebrated the election of Salt Lake’s first openly gay mayor, Jackie Biskupski. Since her election the citizens have applauded her efforts to further integrate the diverse aspects of the local culture.
Like Mayor Biskupski and the several openly gay city council members, Visit Salt Lake (VSL) both recognizes and embraces the community’s diverse culture. VSL is a proud member of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) and one of our senior staff members is a member of the IGLTA Foundation’s board of directors.
Visit Salt Lake has bid for and hosted a number of LGBTQ+ sporting events, such as the National Gay Basketball Association, the International Gay Rodeo Association, the National Gay Flag Football League, Gay Ski Week as well as a variety of local sporting events, such as softball, bowling and aquatics.
Salt Lake is home to over sixty unique venues so we can accommodate nearly everyone and every sport.
One of our shining stars is the new Salt Lake Regional Athletic Complex (RAC) that opened for business in 2016. This premier facility boasts 16 highly manicured fields and is located just seven minutes from downtown Salt Lake and seven minutes from the Salt Lake International Airport, making it one of the country’s most accessible multi-field venues. The RAC has successfully hosted events such as the U.S. Lacrosse WCLA Championships, USA Rugby NIA7s Championships and U.S. Youth Soccer Region IV Presidents Cup.
Located in the center of downtown, the Salt Palace Convention Center offers over 500,000 square feet of contiguous competition space with 30 foot ceilings. Serving as the 2002 Olympic Winter Games media center, the Salt Palace has hosted dozens of high level athletic events, including the 2012 USA Volleyball U.S. Open Championships, 2016 USA Weightlifting Olympic Trials, 2017 USA Fencing National Championships and the 2018 USA Taekwondo National Championships.
Salt Lake’s roots for hosting sporting events runs deep. In 2002 we hosted the most successful Olympic Winter Games to date. Our aspirations for hosting another Olympic Games might soon come true since Salt Lake just announced its intention to bid for the 2026/2030 Olympic Winter Games. Continuing the massive success of the 2002 Games, Salt Lake has kept all the Olympic venues well-funded and fully operational. For these reasons, Salt Lake is naturally a much stronger contender than most other destinations in the U.S. or even the world.
Visit Salt Lake has long recognized the value and potential of LGBTQ+ sports events, and we’re pleased to see other Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVB) and sports commissions become more aware of that potential. We’re extremely proud of joining the Sports Diversity Leadership Council this year and look forward to a bright future of hosting even more LGBTQ+ events.
By Clay Partain