Nashville has won the hosting rights for the 2016 Bingham Cupa major, multi-day gay rugby tournament held every other year in honor of Mark Bingham, who died in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001edging Chicago, it was announced Nov. 19.
The Nashville Grizzlies won a close vote over the Chicago Dragons RFC in a "highly competitive bidding process" and voting from all 52 member clubs worldwide, International Gay Rugby said in announcing the next host city.
The 2014 Bingham Cup was held this past August in Australia and was last held in the U.S. in 2010 ( in Minneapolis ).
"On behalf of the IGR Board and Trustees, I would like to thank both clubs for their dedication and level of professionalism demonstrated in the bids and during the bidding process," IGR chairman Jeff Wilson said in a statement. "Following in the footsteps of Bingham Cup 2014 in Sydney, both bidding organizations realized that the bar had been set even higher for the next tournament. Both Chicago and Nashville responded with comprehensive plans that not only provided for excellent rugby, but an opportunity to raise the visibility of our sport and our mission to another level."
Nigel Melville, CEO of USA Rugby, said in a statement, "USA Rugby is delighted that Nashville has been awarded the hosting rights for Bingham Cup 2016 through an extremely competitive bidding process. We look forward to partnering with the Nashville Grizzlies to make Bingham Cup 2016 the biggest and most successful Bingham Cup to date. We also want to recognize Chicago for their strong bid and to both clubs for their commitment to quality tournament organization. USA Rugby is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in sport, particularly rugby. We will continue to strive to end homophobia in sport through leadership in policy and action."
The 2016 tournament will be the eighth Bingham Cup.
The day after the announcement, the Nashville Grizzlies tweeted, "We woke up and pinched ourselves and yes it's still true! We are hosting @BinghamCup2016 #blessed."
One of the funnier tweets about the announcement came from @GayRugbyClubs, which is London-based and boasts "For the 60 inclusive rugby clubs worldwide, supporting the campaign against homophobia in sport." It tweeted to singing sensation Dolly Parton: "The World Cup of gay rugby is coming to Nashville in May 2016!"
Robert Klein, communications director for the Chicago Dragons, said he is "going to respectively decline to answer further questions at this time" about the announcement and the failed bid.