Chicago, IL —
Chicago organizers of the 2006 Gay Games released preliminary attendance estimates today for the 15-22 July 2006 Gay Games VII Sports & Cultural Festival.
"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 organized 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."
Opening Ceremony at Soldier Field had an estimated attendance of 32,000 while 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.
"Ticket sales to sports & cultural events exceeded our estimates by almost 50%," said Boyer. "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 totaled 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 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 organization, 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 organization projects a financial surplus for the $9.5 million event with financial details available before 30 September 2006.
About Gay Games VII
Gay Games VII Sports and Cultural Festival took place 15-22 July 2006 with 11,500 athletes from 70 countries competing in 30 sports ranging from softball to dancesport, swimming to tennis. The weeklong event included band, cheerleading and color guard performances, chorus, an ancillary arts festival, and a series of community-organized social events and parties. The opening ceremony was 15 July at Soldier Field, the lakefront home stadium of American-style football's Chicago Bears. Closing ceremony was 22 July at Wrigley Field, the home of Major League Baseball's Chicago Cubs, located in the heart of Chicago's largest LGBT neighborhood.
Global sponsors of Gay Games VII included Lexiva; Logo; PlanetOut/Gay.com; Sirius Satellite Radio; Walgreens; Centaur Entertainment; Fleishman Hillard International Communications; NBC 5 Chicago; Orbitz; McKnight Kurland Baccelli; Illinois State University; The New York Times; Olivia Cruises & Resorts; Pride Nation Network; Windy City Media Group
; Absolut Vodka; American Airlines; Apogee Strategies; Athletico; Chicago Free Press
; Chicago Sun-Times; Ernst & Young; GLAAD; Genre; Human Rights Campaign; Lambda Legal Defense; Nike; QTG-Quaker/Tropicana/Gatorade; Sydney New Mardi Gras; Mate Magazine; Pink Magazine; QTG (Quaker/Tropicana/Gatorade); RCN; and Roosevelt University. Gay Games VII had more than 350 total sponsors.