Chicago’s 2006 Gay Games Declared A Financial Success

      2006 Gay Games®, Chicago Games, Inc., (CGI) the host organization for the event, announced today that it has completed the post-Games fundraising and wind down process and that the 2006 Gay Games broke even. Such a positive financial result reverses a 20-year trend, having not been achieved since Gay Games II in 1986. CGI accomplished the result with 2 fewer years planning time than most Gay Games.

“In 2003 when we launched the bid to host the 2006 Gay Games, we promised our local LGBT community, the City of Chicago, and the worldwide LGBT sports movement that the 2006 Gay Games would break even financially,” said Sam Coady. “We also made the commitment to leave a lasting and positive legacy for future Gay Games hosts – a sound business model upon which future Gay Games could be built. We are proud today to have fulfilled those promises.”

The Gay Games have always been a boon for the local economy. Nevertheless, the past three Gay Games host committees lost significant amounts of money, threatening the future of the quadrennial sports & culture festival. For the first time ever, the Gay Games also faced a competing LGBT sports event. Held in Montreal just one week after the Gay Games, that competing event’s host organization ended up losing several million dollars.

Chicago’s business model differentiated itself by dramatically increasing corporate partnerships, relying significantly upon volunteer professionals and pro bono services, establishing a sponsored worldwide marketing and media campaign, and outsourcing non-core elements to third parties.

The 2006 Gay Games themselves contributed $50 to $80 million to the local economy, with some estimating that another 10 years of positive LGBT tourism visibility will generate millions more dollars in the long term.

the Center on Halsted,” said Suzanne Arnold, Board Co-Chair. “Three-and-one-half-years later, our beautiful new community center is open and Chicago’s LGBT community is stronger than ever. Our local LGBT sports organizations are the strongest they’ve ever been, offering more sports to more people than ever before.”

Legacy for Chicago and Cologne

“Looking to the future, we’re proud to have helped inspire our great Mayor Richard M. Daley to launch a bid for the 2016 Olympic Games®,” said Kevin Boyer. “Our experience has demonstrated that Chicagoans come together in support of great and important civic endeavors, and we know that almost 3,000 Gay Games-trained volunteers and 400 business sponsors stand ready to help Chicago host the 2016 Olympics.” – Sidenote – Mayor Daley is a strong advocate and suppoter of the gay/lesbian community and spoke at both the opening and closing ceremonies. He plans to back the bill in Illinois in favor of gay marriage/unions.

“At the Gay Games VII Closing Ceremony on July 22, 2006, Chicago passed the symbols of the Gay Games to Cologne, Germany, the host of the 2010 Gay Games,” said Tracy Baim. “Today, we give to Cologne an even more important legacy – a Gay Games movement that is stronger and more vibrant. We look forward to coming together once again in just three years in celebration of the fundamental principles of Dr. Tom Waddell and the Gay Games – Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best(tm).

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