Gay Games in Cleveland and Akron injected over $50 million into local economy, claims study

Last year's Gay Games in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio injected $52.1 million (£33.5 million/€43.3 million) into the local economy, according to a study carried out by Kent State University.

Visitors contributed $38.8 million (£25.3 million/€32.3 million) in direct economic impact, through hotel stays and restaurant purchases and the additional $13.3 million (£8.7 million/€11.1 million) was generated in "indirect spending" by those who benefited economically from the visitors' spending.
The overall figure far exceeds the estimated $36 million (£23.2 million/€29.9 million) that was spent during the 2013 National Senior Games, held in Cleveland. 

This is despite the fact that the Senior Games drew 25,000 visitors, while the ninth edition of the Gay Games, which took place between August 9 and 16, attracted approximately 20,000. 

Although the number of competing athletes was 4,000 lower than the 12,000 at the Chicago 2006 Games, Thomas Nobbe, the Cleveland-based director of Gay Games 9, was not hugely surprised by the results. 

"I was always pretty confident that if we got them here, they would spend money," he

"They did.

"The other piece of this - they received such a fantastic welcome here from the get-go.

"They felt good about Cleveland-Akron.

"I have to believe that encouraged them."

Shawn M Rohlin, an assistant professor of economics at Kent State University, conducted the economic impact studies for both the Gay Games and the Senior Games.

Surveys asking about the dollar amounts spent by athletes and their guests at the Gay Games were e-mailed to all registered participants after the event. 

Roughly 1,150 participants responded, 76 per cent of whom were from outside the Cleveland and Akron region.

"The Gay Games attracted people from around the world," Rohlin told

"And they certainly spent a lot of money."

Although not exclusively for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, the quadrennial Games were designed with the goals to promote the spirit of inclusion and participation, as well as to promote the pursuit of personal growth in a sporting event.

They are open to all who wish to participate, without regard to sexual orientation, and there are no qualifying standards. 

Competitors come from many countries, including those where homosexuality remains illegal and hidden.

The first edition of the Games was held in San Francisco in 1982 with the 10th edition scheduled to be hosted by Paris in 2018. 

POSTED: Saturday, January 3, 2015 12:00 AM
Updated: Saturday, December 3, 2022 01:02 AM