Gay games exceeds expectations

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

Over 140,000 people attended the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago and tickets exceeded projections, according to preliminary figures from the organisers.

“Attendance at Gay Games Chicago events exceeded 140,000 – 40,000 more than we had projected,” said Kevin Boyer, Gay Games Chicago co-vice chair.

“We estimate that attendance at events organised by the Gay Games was 107,500 including Opening Closing Ceremonies, the Gay Games Expo, and all of the sports cultural events. Official affiliated events and parties had an additional estimated attendance of 33,000 throughout the week.”

The opening ceremony at Soldier Field had an estimated attendance of 32,000 while the Closing Ceremony at Wrigley Field had nearly 20,000 in attendance. The four-day Gay Games Expo drew an estimated 13,250. Participating athletes artists numbered 11,500.

Mr Boyer said: “Ticket sales to sports cultural events exceeded our estimates by almost 50%.

“While most sporting events were free, we had projected to sell 8,000 tickets to some of the more popular sports cultural events. Ticket sales actually totalled around 12,000 with several events selling out.”

The largest ticketed events included Figure Skating (1,500 two-day passes) at McFetridge Park, Diving (1,075 two-day passes) at Northwestern University and Dancesport (1,075 two-day passes) at the Hilton Chicago. Almost 1,000 tickets were sold to the two Physique shows at Northwestern and more than 1,000 people bought tickets to the Volleyball medal rounds at Navy Pier.

“While there were thousands of tourists visiting from out of town, Chicagoans made up the largest number of the spectators at our events as predicted,” said Mr Boyer. “Gay Games Chicago will be remembered most for the way the city and its residents embraced this international event with open arms. On behalf of the Gay Games organisation, our sponsors and all of our out-of-town guests, we want to thank everyone in Chicago for the warm welcome they extended.”

The Gay Games organisation projects a financial surplus for the $9.5 million event with financial details available before 30 September 2006.