On September 29, Cleveland, Ohio was named by the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) as the host of the 2014 Gay Games - the world’s largest sporting and cultural event for the LGBT community - which is anticipated to generate a local economic impact of more than $60 million. The FGG’s announcement concludes a year-long site selection process that culminated in formal presentations by bidding cities to the FGG Membership Assembly meeting in Cologne, Germany, site of the 2010 Gay Games. Boston and Washington, D.C. were also finalists.
Cleveland City Councilman, Joe Cimperman, and City of Cleveland Chief of Governmental Affairs, Valarie McCall, as well as representatives from Cleveland Synergy Foundation, Positively Cleveland, Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau and Continental Airlines participated in the presentation to the FGG.
“The City of Cleveland is prepared to roll out the welcome mat to the GLBT athletes, their families and spectators from around the world,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “Fans of the Gay Games will find that Cleveland is a great place to celebrate sports and culture and that we have tremendous assets and amenities for them to enjoy. The sports and cultural environment here is truly a uniquely Cleveland experience, one they will cherish for years to come.”
“We are extremely honored and pleased that Cleveland has been selected to host the 2014 Gay Games,” said W. Doug Anderson, spokesperson for Cleveland Synergy Foundation, the bidding organization.
“It is truly a privilege to continue Dr. Tom Waddell’s legacy and vision in our city – an extremely enthusiastic sports town - where the guiding principles of personal best, inclusion and participation are held dear. We are also pleased to be considered and selected from among two of the greatest cities in the world – Boston and Washington, D.C. – and greatly appreciate the support of both cities as Cleveland hosts the Gay Games in 2014.”
“Cleveland demonstrated to the Federation of Gay Games that they understood the mission of the Gay Games and our principles of ‘Participation, Inclusion, and Personal Best’,” said Kurt Dahl (Chicago) and Emy Ritt (Paris), FGG Co-Presidents. “We were highly impressed by the facilities and infrastructure, the widespread community sport, their financial plan and the city’s experience in hosting large scale sports and cultural events.”
The bid to host the Gay Games was strengthened by the robust support of both Cleveland and Akron.
Cleveland City Council’s passage of Ordinance #1260-09 on September 14, 2009 – which guarantees $700,000 for the Gay Games - and Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau’s pledge of $100,000 for event marketing and promotion, contributed to the $4.5 million in financial support Cleveland Synergy Foundation estimates will be received for the event. This financial support package includes donations, grants and in-kind support.
“The Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau is thrilled to support the 2014 Gay Games,” stated Susan Hamo, President/CEO. “This is an exceptional opportunity for our region to receive international recognition and be viewed as a world-class destination.”
Additionally, prominent corporate allies, including Continental Airlines, demonstrated important support for a key aspect of the Gay Games – travel - which significantly impacts Gay Games participation; key to a successful event.
“We are excited to be the travel partner for the 2014 Gay Games and look forward to bringing the world to Cleveland and Akron in 2014,” commented Evan Koppel, Regional Sales Director for Continental Airlines. Cleveland’s 2014 Gay Games IX Sports & Cultural Festival is scheduled to take place August 9–16, 2014.
The eight-day event will feature thirty sports, four cultural events, Opening and Closing Ceremonies at Cleveland Browns Stadium and community and cultural events throughout the Cleveland and Akron metropolitan areas. Gay Games historically generate an estimated $50 to $80 million in local economic impact in additional to significant ongoing travel and tourism visibility benefits for the host city.
The Gay Games is a quadrennial sports and cultural festival founded in 1982 by Olympic decathlete Dr. Tom Waddell. Drawing as many as 12,000 participants, more than the Olympics, Gay Games have been held in San Francisco (1982, 1986), Vancouver (1990), New York (1994), Amsterdam (1998), Sydney (2002), and Chicago (2006). The 2010 Gay Games will take place in Cologne, Germany, from 31 July to 7 August 2010 (www.games-cologne.com).