Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

November 05, 2009

Eileen Larrabee
Dan Keefe

Rochester to Host 2011 Empire State Games

Amateur competition to draw tens of thousands of visitors to Western New York

Private sponsorship critically needed to make Games a success

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash today announced that Rochester will host the 2011 Hugh L. Carey Empire State Summer Games. Selection of a host city will allow the creation of a Rochester Local Organizing Committee, which is critical to raising the private funds needed to make the 2011 Games a success.

"Citizens of Rochester have been great hosts for the Empire State Games, and we will need their support to ensure the Games remain the foremost state-level amateur athletic competition in the nation," said Ash. "We look forward to building a great network of supporters to keep the Empire State Games' flame alive in Rochester in 2011."

OPRHP, which oversees the Empire State Games program, has advanced a two-year $1 million private fundraising goal to put the Empire State Games program on solid financial footing. To reach the goal, OPRHP has sought private sponsorship of the Games, which may include naming rights, a prominent presence at Games' ceremonies and recognition as "Title Sponsor" in all areas of promotion for both the Rochester Games and the 2010 Summer Games in Buffalo, as well as the Winter Games, Senior Games and Games for the Physically Challenged.

Individuals interested in contributing to the Games can do so by visiting

"The presence of the Empire State Games in Buffalo and Rochester in successive years provides a unique opportunity for Western New York's businesses to reach a target audience the most active people in the state," said Ash. "Western New York is known for its dedicated sports fans, and we are hopeful this regional flavor will encourage New York businesses to be part of this popular and respected sports program."

The Empire State Games, one of the largest amateur athletic programs in the nation, feature more than 6,000 of New York's finest athletes participating in Olympic-style sports. Rochester's economy will benefit from the projected $10-12 million in economic activity generated by the Games. In addition to the athletes, the July 27-31, 2011 event is expected to draw 15,000 to 20,000 spectators.Rochester most recently hosted the Summer Games in 2006, and previously in 1993 and 1998.

The University at Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, Nazareth College, Roberts Wesleyan, Monroe Community College and SUNY Brockport are expected to host competitions and house the athletes.

"This is fantastic news for the city and the entire region," said Rochester Mayor Robert J. Duffy. "The Empire State Games program is one of the nation's most prestigious events, attracting top competitors and visitors from across the state. Not only will the Games give our economy a significant boost, they present a major opportunity to showcase Rochester's outstanding attractions and amenities. The Empire State Games are always welcome in Rochester."

"The return of the Empire State Summer Games to Monroe County speaks volumes about our community's excellence in hosting premier sporting events. Our resources and venues - including our nationally recognized colleges and universities - are truly second to none," said Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks. "We are thrilled to have been chosen again as the location for the 2011 Games and look forward to the opportunity to showcase our outstanding community to the thousands of athletes and fans who will be visiting and staying in Monroe County."

"RIT is looking forward to 2011 and hosting thousands of spectators and competitors from all over New York state," said RIT President Bill Destler. "This is a great opportunity to showcase RIT and another way for RIT to support the community at-large."

"New York State has a tradition of encouraging and rewarding amateur athletics with great events like the Empire State Games," said Joel Seligman, president of the University of Rochester. "We were proud to be a host of the summer games in 2006 and we look forward to the 2011 games."

"On behalf of Monroe County Sports Commission, we are certainly looking forward to working with Fred Smith and his staff," said Jim LeBeau, Managing Director of the Monroe County Sports Commission. "The games held here in 2006 were a great success, and we know that all the athletes, family members, and friends will enjoy their time here in our community. The games will provide a terrific opportunity for the athletes and visitors to be exposed to our spectacular colleges, universities, and sporting venues. We are confident the competition will be fierce, and those in the community will welcome the games and support through volunteering or cheering."

Cities interested in hosting the Games submit a proposal to the State Parks Empire State Games office. Criteria include accessibility from other points in the state, ability to house thousands of athletes, availability of hotel accommodations for families and visitors, suitable athletic venues, access to medical facilities, and the commitment and support of a sizeable volunteer base from the local organizing committee and sponsors.

Athletes compete over a four-day period in 28 different Olympic-style sporting events in Scholastic, Open or Masters divisions. Events for the summer games will include men's and women's basketball, tennis, boxing, volleyball, softball, baseball, ice hockey, diving, swimming, synchronized swimming, weight lifting, gymnastics, track and field, soccer, sailing, cycling, canoe/kayak, lacrosse, judo, archery, wrestling, bowling, field hockey, fencing, shooting and rowing.

Through the years, many athletes have been part of the Games and moved on to national, international and Olympic competition. Games' alumni include world champions, Olympic gold medalists, college and high school All-Americans, professional athletes in the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL, as well as figure skaters, skiers, soccer players and many more. Nearly two-dozen former Games' athletes, along with dozens of Games' coaches and officials participated at the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.