The State of Alabama will send $5 million to the World Games under a proposed budget submitted to the legislature this week by Gov. Kay Ivey.
According to a list of supplemental appropriations in the Education Trust Fund, $5 million of the $164.5 million sent to the Department of Commerce for one-time expenses would go to the World Games.
Ivey said in a statement earlier this week announcing her General Fund and Education Trust Fund budget proposals to the Alabama Legislature that "just as every Alabama family budgets to invest, pay their debts and increase their savings, my budget proposals do just that for our state."
A spokesperson for Ivey told 1819 News the $5 million to the World Games "was requested, and I would defer you to them to speak further on their specific needs."
Birmingham hosted The World Games 2022 in July. About 3,500 athletes competed from 99 different countries in 34 sports. The games took place around 23 venues throughout the greater Birmingham area. According to a press release, 375,000 spectators watched the event. Those who did not watch the games in person could watch them on television in 80 countries.
However, the event racked up a $14 million deficit. Birmingham City Council approved a $5 million appropriation in August to cover some of the deficit. Jefferson County Commissioners approved $4 million of their federal American Rescue Plan Act allotment to go towards the shortfall. The Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau gave $1 million towards the debt in October.
Jefferson County commissioner Lashunda Scales said of the deficit in September, "It is what it is. People have provided a service, and they need to be paid."
"As we move forward, if folks don't stay within their budget, then they will be on their own," she added. "Hopefully, everyone has learned a lesson and will govern themselves accordingly."
Birmingham City Councilman Darrell O'Quinn told WBRC in August, "We can't leave these vendors hanging. I mean, some of them are owed very substantial amounts of money."
Nick Sellers, CEO of The World Games 2022, didn't immediately return a request for comment on Thursday morning.
Sellers has blamed a "challenging economy and recent spike in COVID" for making the deficit worse than expected.
According to The World Games' website, the 11-day event happening every four years aspires to equal and exceed the importance of World Championships for the represented sports and disciplines. The World Games 2025 is scheduled to be held in Chengdu, China.
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