South Korea Beats Out Greensboro, North Carolina for 2027 World University Games Bid

In a vote of the excitement of new frontiers versus the confidence of experience, Chungcheong Megacity was chosen as the host of the 2027 World University Games on Saturday. The city beat out Greensboro, North Carolina in the United States with a 14-7 vote of the Executive Committee.

2027 will be the third time South Korea hosts the event after 2003 was held in Daegu and 2015 was held in Gwangju. The US has not hosted the event since Buffalo in 1993.

“FISU offers its sincere congratulations to Chungcheong. Korea has a proud tradition of university sport and will, I am sure, be an ideal place for the world’s best university athletes to come together in peaceful celebration in the summer of 2027,” said FISU Acting President Leonz Eder. “Chungcheong 2027 has the potential to be a very special FISU World University Games, making a lasting contribution to university sport.”

While the United States offers a massive potential new market for FISU, South Korea offered a sense of reliability: the country has successfully hosted the event before, FISU competition receives huge support there, and the promise of a 100% existing infrastructure plan. The latter has become bigger as political turmoil and building delays have caused challenges to bids for major sporting events around the world. The bidders from Chungcheong said that no major renovations or new construction would be hired to host the games.

North Carolina’s final pitch pointed out that the event could be part of an American crowned-jewel after the 2026 FIFA World Cup (hosted mostly in the US) and before the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Eder suggested that North Carolina could host a future event, however.

“While FISU could only name one host for the 2027 FISU World University Games today, FISU is deeply grateful to both candidates for their commitment to international university sport,” added Leonz Eder. “While Chungcheong is today’s choice for 2027, we would be delighted to have North Carolina as a host for the FISU World University Games in the future at the first available opportunity.

“FISU would like to thank both candidates for their professionalism and for the sporting way in which they have conducted themselves throughout the process.”

The North Carolina bid estimated between $150 million and $350 million in revenue for the state.

The World University Games are, depending on the year, one of the three largest sporting events in the world by participants. The 12,885 participants in South Korea in 2015 is more than the Olympic Games (which are working to shrink participant counts) or Asian Games have ever drawn.

USA Swimming wasn’t scheduled to send a team to the Chengdu World University Games in 2022, and hasn’t said anything to update that plan for 2023. That is sort of a flag for the general lack of commitment to the event by the US. Asian nations, and Russia, generally lead the medals tables at the World University Games. In 2019, the US was 4th. In 2017, the US was 5th, behind Japan, Chinese Taipei, South Korea, and Russia. That is not a position the US normally finds itself in at international summer multi-sport events, but is directly tied to the fact that the US does not send their best university athletes to this event.

FISU has already begun the 2029 selection process – bid submissions were accepted until January 31, 2022.

Upcoming Hosts, World University Games:

  • 2023 – Chengdu, China
  • 2025 – Rhine-Ruhr Region, Germany
  • 2027 – Chungcheong Province, South Korea

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20 days ago

I bet any US team members would be a lot more excited about travelling to South Korea than Greensboro
Tough luck for the South Korean kids, though…

Last edited 20 days ago by BearlyBreathing
20 days ago

is the US going to send a team to 2023?

Demarrit Steenbergen
20 days ago

Would have been nice for NC to get some recognition in international sports.

UNC fan
Reply to  Demarrit Steenbergen
12 days ago

Buffalo did a great job back in 1993.

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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