The Empire State Games originated in 1978 under an initiative of Governor Hugh L. Carey. The Games are a premiere athletic competition and include six regional qualifying events with over 25,000 athletes trying out and more than 6,000 qualifying and taking part in the three day games, which are run in a similar style to the Olympics, complete with an opening ceremony and medal awards. The ESG serve as a recruiting ground for colleges, but are often the pinnacle achievement of an amateur athlete’s career. Nearly 20,000 fans attend the games and bring major economic stimulation to the hosting region. The estimated economic impact is $12-$15M annually for the hosting region.
In 2012 Empire State Sports Foundation was created with the specific goal of rejuvenating the Hugh L. Carey Empire State Games for amateur athletes of New York State. ESSF is a Rochester, NY-based Not-for-Profit Public Charity dedicated to the recognition and promotion of competitive excellence among New York State’s amateur athletes, as well as those attributes associated with sports quality—personal health, fitness, development, education, sportsmanship and teamwork. Our Board of Governors is comprised of athletes, community, sports and business leaders who have significant interest in seeing that amateur athletics remain an integral part of the social and cultural fabric of New York State.