You won’t believe what kind of games are coming to Birmingham

Bill Ryan
Bill Ryan

Today’s guest columnist is Bill Ryan.

Birmingham, you convinced me and my team!

Our group evaluated sites for our national games and Birmingham, in an 11th hour pitch, catapulted to the top of our list and joined renowned event cities like Houston, Salt Lake City, Indianapolis and Cleveland.

In 2017, you hosted the National Senior Games.

In 2022, the World Games.

And in 2025 you will host the 2025 World Police & Fire Games.

That left 2024 open and we grabbed it!

You have an experienced team of professional event experts and a talent base that rivals many bigger cities.

Transplant Games of America coming to Birmingham

Thousands of athletes and living donors will descend upon Birmingham next summer, competing in over 20 competitions to demonstrate the iron will of survivors of organ, eye and tissue transplantation.

Upwards of 10,000-12,000 attendees will call Birmingham home for six days of festivities that include medaling competitions along with over 50 special events that honor deceased donors and their families.

Birmingham won the bid to host the Transplant Games of America event earlier this year by promoting an amazing array of venues central to the downtown area along with a commitment from the City of Birmingham, Jefferson County and the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The TGA Village will be housed at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center and will function as the gathering point for the thousands of visitors to the Magic City, and serve as well as the main competition venue.

Games a big boost to transplant and potential transplant recipients

The world of transplantation in the United States represents the miracle of modern day medicine.  Setting a record in 2022, over 40,000 organ transplants brought a renewal of life for patients who otherwise faced long-term challenges, or death as a result of their condition.

Over 100,000 individuals are currently on the waiting list for an organ, and 15-17 patients die every day because an organ is not available. Celebrating a renewal of life brings promise and hope to the many awaiting an organ across this nation.

Many events & surrounding festival free to public

The Birmingham community wins big too.  With few exceptions, many of the events surrounding this festival of life are free to the public. Come to the CrossPlex and be inspired by watching athletes of all ages swim or run track, or stay downtown and watch thousands of runners race to the finish in the Transplant Games 5k Race/Walk.

Multi-sport events, or sports festivals are great opportunities for communities to bring families, friends, and fans to their towns. The Transplant Games are held every two years and were first produced in Indianapolis in 1990.

Utilizing many existing facilities allows for a great return on investment, and strong attendance numbers improve lodging revenue as well as food and beverage dollars.  The 2024 Transplant Games will be the 18th edition of the Games and is expected to bring over 10 million dollars to the region.

The Games represent a significant achievement for both donors and recipients.  In many cases, patients have endured years of dialysis, or faced near-death medical conditions. In a return to health, many are thrilled to enter the field of competition to show everyone their badge of courage.

DJ Mackovets, CEO of the Local Organizing Committee for the 2024 Transplant Games, and the 2025 World Police & Fire Games, noted, “Our community was very aggressive when Bill made this bid opportunity available.  We discussed his goals for a host city and we agreed we could make this happen with all measurements of success post-event.”

Commitment to improve opportunities for minority transplantations

One of the major deciding factors in Birmingham’s award-winning bid, is the city’s honored location as the birthplace of the civil rights movement.  The Transplant Life Foundation and the Transplant Games of America have a commitment to improving the opportunities for minorities in the transplantation world.

Minorities today are underserved in donation and transplantation.  There are a variety of factors that impact both individual donors, as well as those in need of organs.  Financial concerns, fear and distrust, play an important role in keeping the statistics abnormally low.  There is a clear need for additional education and opportunities for the multicultural community.

The 2024 Transplant Games will harness Birmingham’s powerful messaging as a prominent community in civil rights history. Combining this with the amazing energy that the Games bring, will change the course of transplant in the multicultural world.

Plan on joining legions of transplant heroes next July as Birmingham takes center stage in an amazing display of courage and tenacity at the world’s largest celebration of life.

Bill Ryan is President & CEO of The Transplant Life Foundation and is also board chair of Ryan Marketing Group Technologies, an event project management company with over 30 years of experience on world class events including the NCAA Final Four ®, FINA World Swimming Championships, FIBA Men’s World Basketball Championships, World Cup Soccer, and the Solheim Cup.   Bill leads a team of professionals in producing the Transplant Games of America, the largest gathering of transplant recipients and donor families in the world.

David Sher is the founder and publisher of ComebackTown.  He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).

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3 thoughts on “You won’t believe what kind of games are coming to Birmingham”

  1. Now THIS is what a great city is. When many more people know this, they will learn the lesson about the bad results that come from false assumptions. How underrated Birmingham has been. This standard should be applied to everything.


  2. Thanks, Bill, for your confidence in Birmingham. I am confident that athletes and attendees will not be disappointed. Birmingham always surprises our out-of-towner visitors with all that we have to offer!

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