WFC Revs Up For 2024 With New Host City
INDIANAPOLIS — Food champs will be racing to Food Sport’s finish line like never before in 2024. That’s because the World Food Championships just announced that it is shifting gears and taking its Main Event this November to Indianapolis, a city recognized internationally as the “racing capital of the world.”
The state capital Indianapolis is host to the world’s highest-attended single-day event: the Indianapolis 500. Professional and amateur sports are also big in the “Hoosier” state, thanks to the Indiana Pacers NBA franchise, the WNBA Indiana Fever and the Indianapolis Colts, the NFL 2007 Super Bowl Champs, as well as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) headquarters and other sport-sanctioning organizations.
“This is an exciting day for WFC and Food Sport in general,” commented Mike McCloud, WFC’s founder and chief operating officer. “Indianapolis is a place where champions are crowned in all types of sporting events and professional leagues. That reputation, in addition to the diverse culinary scene that has blossomed over the years, makes Indy a perfect home for our Main Event, where we crown the best cooks and chefs from around the globe in iconic categories of food.”
Indy's energetic downtown offers over 300 diverse restaurants and 50 major attractions, including renowned arts and cultural institutions, award-winning sports facilities, miles of bike paths, a scenic Central Canal, and 250 acres of urban green space.
“Indianapolis is the perfect destination to host the World Food Championships, and we are very excited to serve up some great Hoosier Hospitality to the competitors, sponsors, exhibitors and food sports fans in attendance,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. “We look forward to showcasing our ever-expanding roster of award-winning chefs and restaurants as well as our diverse offering of international cuisine. The championships will also present the opportunity to shine a light on Indiana’s agricultural industry, which continues to feed the world with technology-driven efficiency and a commitment to sustainability.”
Indy, along with Ivy Tech Community College, hosted the WFC Final Table in 2020, an extraordinary year due to Covid restrictions. McCloud pointed out that this spirit of cooperation, synergy and solutions-based partnership impressed him a great deal and is what makes Indy an ideal home for the leader in Food Sport.
The latest example of Indy’s strategic innovation was a $50 million renovation and 2023 opening of the Indiana Farm Bureau Fall Creek Pavilion on the Indiana State Fairgrounds, which will serve as the host venue for WFC’s Main Event. This state-of-the-art facility features 196,000 total square-feet that comprises 118,000 square-feet of show floor, a 14,000 square-foot lobby, and 80,000 square-feet of clear space. The facility has 25-foot ceilings, making activations and demonstrations of all types possible. This investment underscores the state’s focus on agriculture, another key element behind WFC’s relocation to Indianapolis. Corn, Soybean, Dairy, Beef, Pork, and Poultry are all primary drivers to the Indiana economy.
“We are thrilled to be working with Indianapolis and the Indiana State Fair on a new home for The World Food Championships and the rapidly growing world of Food Sport,” commented Mike Eaton, CEO of World Food Championships Holdings. “With competitions that feature world-class chefs and a unique perspective on culinary art, we plan to bring an unparalleled event to Indy that appeals to consumers and sheds more light on the explosive growth of the global Food Sport community.”
Over the course of the event’s history, WFC has awarded more than $3 million in cash and prizes, garnered a media reach of more than 9 billion and connected 200+ food brands with food fans, food bloggers and food contestants. In short, the WFC platform has given birth to “Food Sport” by providing a level playing field, a fair judging system, innovative culinary programming, ambassador opportunities, TV visibility and a process that allows talented culinary teams to compete in ways never before seen.
“This is great day for Indianapolis and the entire Hoosier state” said Larry Dickerson, director of the Culinary Crossroads initiative in the state. “We’ve worked diligently over the past several years to position Indianapolis for the opportunity to bring the WFC to Indy. We now look forward to working with the WFC team and our alliance of organizations to deliver on our commitment to provide an incredible experience for the competitors, sponsors, exhibitors and attendees.”
As WFC makes the shift to its new host site in Indianapolis, McCloud reflected on the accomplishments and partnership support that Food Champs experienced in Texas, specifically in the City of Dallas.
“Our previous host city embraced our competition with open arms and open minds, providing us with vital support that helped make our event a huge operational and international success over the past five years,” noted McCloud. “We are grateful to the many partnerships we formed there, especially with Visit Dallas, Dallas College and the Hotel Association of North Texas. It’s a great feeling to know that Food Sport was celebrated so much and that many of our Food Champs have built life-long relationships in the great state of Texas.”
Dates for the 12th Annual World Food Championships have been set for Nov 8-12, 2024, utilizing a weekend for opening round entertainment to delight food and sporting fans alike. Finals for the event’s 12 categories will occur Monday, Nov. 11 - Tuesday, Nov 12.
For more updates about Indianapolis and WFC, visit www.worldfoodchampionships.com or follow World Food Championships on X (formerly Twitter) @WorldFoodChamp, and Facebook or Instagram (@WorldFoodChampionships). For information about getting involved as an exhibitor, sponsor or competitor, email info@WorldFoodChampionships.com.
About World Food Championships
The World Food Championships (WFC) is the highest stakes Food Sport competition in the world. This multi-day, live event culinary competition showcases some of the world's best cooks who compete for food, fame and fortune in 12 categories (Bacon, Barbecue, Burger, Chef, Dessert, Live Fire, Rice, Noodle, Sandwich, Seafood, Soup and Vegetarian). Each year as Food Sport kicks off in January, thousands of cook teams try to earn their way into WFC by winning a Golden Ticket at an official qualifier. Almost 40 countries and every state in America have been represented at WFC’s main event since its inception in 2012.
About WFC Holdings, LLC
WFC Holdings, LLC is a partnership between World Food Championships and IMG, a global leader in sports, fashion, events and media. The multi-platform partnership will manage some of the world’s greatest chefs and award-winning cooks, while also developing consumer related products and multi-genre content for linear and OTT networks throughout the world. The organization will also offer sanctioning, licensing, sports training and league development for international growth. IMG is a subsidiary of Endeavor, a global sports and entertainment company.
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