Barranquilla, Colombia named host of 2027 Pan Am Games when no opposing cities emerged

Barranquilla was named host city for the 2027 Pan Am Games during a ceremony in the Colombian coastal city held last Saturday after rival bids failed to emerge.

Officials sign host city contract at ceremony celebrating the election of the Barranquilla 2027 Pan American Games in Colombia August 27, 2021 (Panam Sports photo)

Officials sign host city contract at ceremony celebrating the election of the Barranquilla 2027 Pan American Games in Colombia August 27, 2021 (Panam Sports photo)

The port city on the Caribbean Sea is home to more than 2 million people making it the fourth largest in Colombia.  The Games will mark the twentieth edition of the event that is held across the Americas every four years – and it will be the second time Colombia will host following Cali in 1971.

“This designation that Panam Sports is making represents the very special recognition of a country that has shown an unconditional commitment to the development of sport throughout the continent,” Panam Sports President, Neven Ilic said at the event that was attended by Colombian President Ivan Duque, Colombian Olympic Committee President Ciro Solano, Barranquilla Mayor Jaime Pumarejo and many popular Colombian athletes including Tokyo 2020 medalists Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medalists in athletics Anthony Zambrano and Sandra Arenas.

Colombia staged both the Central American and Caribbean Games in 2018 and continue to work towards hosting the Cali 2021 Junior Pan Am Games beginning November 25 despite the hurdles of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“That is why our member countries have decided to grant the hosting rights of our main sporting event in 2027 to the beautiful city of Barranquilla,” Ilic said.

Panam Sports was also limited in time and choice for a selection made during this COVID-19 pandemic that has wreaked havoc on the sports calendar.

According to the Panam Sports constitution, host cities are to be elected at least six years ahead of the opening ceremony, forcing the organization to lock in a choice this year.  Earlier bidding interest from Bolivia and Argentina has since dissolved, leaving Barranquilla’s candidacy unopposed.

Last year Ilic reportedly said the host selection could be delayed due to the pandemic.  But as the list of interested bidders dwindled, the organization may have considered a delay too risky to manage.  Other major multi-sport events have struggled to attract bidders in the COVID era including the Asian Games that were left with interest from only Doha and Riyadh – both that were later chosen to host the event in 2030 and 2034 respectively.

The Commonwealth Games are already two years behind in selecting its 2026 host city as interest in staging the event has been very limited.

Barranquilla 2027 will serve as an important qualifier event for the subsequent Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games and will follow the Pan Am Games already scheduled for Santiago in 2023.

“We want the continent and the world to see Barranquilla,” Barranquilla Mayor Jaime Pumarejo said.

“We will be ready to welcome you, to show you what Barranquilla is today and, above all, what it will be in a few years.

“That is why we are giving you the keys to our city in this ceremony so that you can open the doors to your new home.

“We are already waiting for you and we want you to come and fall in love with this city.”

About Robert Livingstone

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.