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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 5, 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 49
2014 Gay Games brought extra $52 million to Northeast Ohio
Section One
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2014 Gay Games brought extra $52 million to Northeast Ohio

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

This year's Gay Games brought an additional $52 million to the economy of host cities Cleveland and Akron, Ohio, according to a study by two Kent State University economics professors.

The Games, held every four years like the Olympics, are the world's largest LGBT sports and cultural event. The event was originally called the 'Gay Olympics,' but a 1982 lawsuit by the International Olympic Committee forced the name change.

Professors Shawn Rohlin and Nadia Greenhalgh-Stanley found that 75% of the more than 20,000 asked participants in the 2014 Gay Games lived outside the Cleveland-Akron metropolitan area.

They then asked the participants about their spending during the Games.

They found that locals and non-locals combined spent $38.8 million in the main sectors of the local economy, including hotels, restaurants, bars, and gas stations. An additional $20.6 million was generated in local incomes - the equivalent of 726 full-time jobs.

The study also found that holding the games in Cleveland had diverted the vacation spending of locals back into the Cleveland-Akron economy, preventing the money from going elsewhere. Sixty-four percent of local participants said they would have traveled outside Northeast Ohio to participate in the Gay Games, which would have seen $8.4 million in spending taken away from the region.

'The Gay Games provided an important economic impact for the local Northeast Ohio economy, including higher revenues generated for local businesses and new local jobs,' Rohlin wrote.

The economic success of the Games has the Akron city tourism industry hoping to repeat a similar success next year with a Gay rodeo event.

'Akron and Summit County truly benefited from the thousands of new visitors during the week of the Games, and we already are experiencing long-term success,' Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau president and CEO said.

'The city's street festival during the Games - 'Flair Fest' - was such a success that it will return next year and the International Gay Rodeo Association is already talking about coming back.'

The 2018 Gay Games will be held in Paris.

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