Badger State Games end after 25 years
After a 25 years of proving competition for Wisconsin citizen athletes in many sports, the Badger State Games will no longer be held, the nonprofit Wisconsin Sports Development Corporation announced on August 2.
Participation in the games has dropped in recent years, causing revenue declines and reductions in WSDC its staff. Competition from other races and tournaments - particularly in youth hockey and soccer - have hurt the Badger State Games.
"It is time to yield to market forces beyond our control and explore new ways to serve the sports marketplace for the benefit of the state of Wisconsin," the WSDC interim president and CEO Dan Doyle said in a press release.
The Madison-based corporation estimated that 350,000 athletes have participated in the games over the 25 years, in everything from curling, archery, Nordic skiing and ski-jumping to tennis and soccer.
Doyle said roughly 20,000 people participated in the games annually in the late 1990s. That number dwindled to roughly 5,000 in the 2011 versions of the winter and summer games.
WSDC lost nearly $50,000 in the fiscal year ending July 31, 2010, the second year in which expenses exceeded revenues. According to its federal tax filing, the corporation had debts that exceeded its assets by nearly $8,000.
"We are very proud of our accomplishments over the years," Doyle said. "The games have supported dozens of sports and have fostered an environment in Wisconsin where athletes now have a wealth of opportunities to participate and compete."
Questions about the sustainability of the Badger State Games started several years ago. The Wausau/Central Wisconsin Convention and Visitors Bureau stopped providing roughly $100,000 in support to host the winter games in Wausau. Contributions from sponsors also dropped off.
According to the announcement, the event hosts in Wausau and the Fox Cities will consider reviving the games in some form. Doyle said decisions on the future mission of the WSDC would be decided in the next three to six months.
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