The Chicago organisers of the 2006 Gay Games announced today that Ernst Young LLP, one of America’s largest professional services firms, has joined as a global bronze sponsor.

Ernst Young’s sponsorship includes providing ticketing and collection services for 10 venues at the events, equal to more than 1,000 hours of professional services.

Approximately 180 Ernst Young employee volunteers will be trained to work in shifts during the week-long event. Ernst Young has also sponsored suites at both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies which will take place at Soldier Field and Wrigley Field and has purchased an additional group block of tickets for both events. Ernst Young is further demonstrating its support of the GLBT community and the Games themselves by encouraging its employees to volunteer or participate in the games.

“At Ernst Young, we are dedicated to providing a culture of inclusiveness,” said John Ferraro, vice chair-client services, Ernst Young LLP. “Sponsoring the Gay Games underscores our commitment to a diverse workforce and a work environment that fosters respect for everyone.

“Gay Games VII is proud to have Ernst Young, one of the largest professional services firms in the US, as a Global Sponsor,” said Sam Coady, Gay Games Chicago co-chair. “Gay Games Chicago continues to build a roster of world class professional partners working to ensure a successful Gay Games VII. With the sponsorship, Ernst Young also cements its reputation as a firm that values diversity among its work force.” Ernst Young was recently named by Diversity, Inc, as one of the “Top 50 Companies for Diversity” and is listed as one of the “Best Places to Work” by the Human Rights Campaign.

The Gay Games, which run from 15- 22 July 2006, will feature 12,000 participants from more than 70 countries, competition in 30 sports, world-class athletes and artists, band and choral performances, a week-long arts festival, and spectacular opening and closing ceremonies.