By Daniel Hunter

The City of Liverpool celebrated the arrival of the world’s largest annual corporate multi-sports festival on Monday evening.

The Official Launch of the World Corporate Games 2014 presented by the International Festival for Business will welcome a high-profile audience of regional and UK-based business leaders alongside civic and sporting influencers from across the Liverpool City region.

The Games is expected to generate well over £3million for the local economy and is a chance to showcase Liverpool and its outstanding facilities to a worldwide business audience. Some of the most powerful businesses in the country have already confirmed their participation, including Accenture, Towers Watson, CSC, ASDA, Lloyds Banking Group and IBM.

The launch took place at St George’s Hall, where over 200 attendees saw an overview of the Corporate Games, as Liverpool is welcomed as the newest addition to the outstanding list of Cities that have hosted the World Corporate Games.

Originating in San Francisco in 1988, the Corporate Games have played an integral role in the history and development of non-elite sport across the Globe.

The Games is brought to Liverpool by the world’s largest annual corporate multisport festival Provider’s and is partnered by the International Festival for Business, Liverpool Vision and the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce.

Liverpool is clearly nurturing a growing reputation for staging major sports and business events and the World Corporate Games will be one of the headline events of the International Festival for Business.

The Games will take place from the 26th -29th June 2014 and it is expected to draw athletes in their thousands to Liverpool from across the UK and from all corners of the globe.

With a huge variety of popular sports to choose from, a host of enjoyable celebrations and all to play for, companies are already entering athletes in their hundreds for next year’s competition. The Games staff members are happy to promote the fact that there is a sport on the programme for everyone, regardless of their age or ability.

Dr Maureen Johnston, President and Founder of the Worldwide Corporate Sports Community, which has more than 20 national and regional Corporate Games in progress, commented: “The World Corporate Games is the ultimate in corporate multi-sports festivals and this is an incredibly exciting time for us, having recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Games on a worldwide platform.

“The Games brings people together, giving incredible opportunities to everyday athletes who play sport for fun and for the fitness it provides. Each person is there to represent their company, institution, club or workplace. Competitors will not be elite superstars but they will play hard and enjoy the camaraderie and respect that real competition in sport and life can offer.”

Teams from all over the world will travel to Liverpool to sample everything that this fantastic City has to offer. Competitors will select from 24 sports on the packed weekend programme, whether they want to play Badminton or Basketball, Netball or Softball, Tennis or Tenpin Bowling. It includes some more adventurous sports such as Dragon Boat Racing, Open Water Swimming and Karting. Golf will be a featured sport as will three classes of Football, -11s, 6s and 5-a-side.

Businesses and institutions across Merseyside will be challenged by multinational and ‘household-name’ organisations from the UK, Europe and as far afield as Turkey, Australia and South Africa; just a few of the destinations where other Corporate Games are staged annually. However, the Games are not just for the huge and mighty of the world’s corporations, it welcomes even the smallest business, group or club to participate and become winners.

Games Director, Ben Sedgemore, said: “I have seen first-hand that the team building benefits are incredible. As an ex-professional sportsperson myself, I can tell you that it is tough to replicate the camaraderie and team spirit that you experience in professional team sport when you move to an office environment. However, I am a firm believer that the Corporate Games is the perfect vehicle to achieve that”.

“The Games will provide an unforgettable experience for all entrants regardless of age or ability. The Games offer great potential for business development and growth within the City and will offer visiting athletes a glimpse of what Liverpool really can offer."

Max Steinberg, Chair of the International Festival for Business, said: “We are thrilled that we have been successful in winning the bid to see the World Corporate Games staged in our great City. In 2014, Liverpool will welcome the World and the Games will be a major feature of the International Festival for Business.

“We are very proud that the Games Headquarters recognised the immense potential in the City when they successfully staged the UK Corporate Games in 2010 and therefore, we are delighted that we have been able to take our involvement onto the world stage. We would encourage all business people from around the world to join us and I know that we can guarantee you the warmest of warm welcomes."

Towers Watson has recently confirmed that they will be bringing at least 180 competitors to Liverpool with representatives anticipated from all 13 of their offices across the UK.

Simon Gilliat, UK Managing Consultant for Towers Watson, said: "We have supported our associates' participation in the Corporate Games for many years. The Games and Towers Watson share many core attributes, including integrity, collaboration, respect and excellence. To be successful in the Games or the business world, organisations need healthy competition and great team work; for this reason Towers Watson is delighted to become more closely associated with the Corporate Games- we can’t wait!"

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