While plans to hold the 2009 Outgames are underway, the news is in about the most recent event in Montreal, and financially, it doesn’t look good.
There has always been a comparison between the World Outgames event and the Gay Games, and this year the Outgames did outdo the Gay Games in at least one way, by ending with the highest deficit for a multi-sport LGBT event in history.
Journal de Montreal broke the story that the 1st World Outgames finished with a $5.7 million deficit ($4.3 million US). Montreal municipal affairs minister, Nathalie Normandeau, told CBC News that the $5.7 million deficit was revealed by a Quebec government audit, despite the fact that the provincial government gave Outgames more than $3 million in loans.
While Outgames representatives had claimed that the event, which had an overall budget of $14 million, closed with a surplus, a government audit in September revealed quite a different outcome.
According to the Journal de Montreal, only weeks before the event’s opening, Outgames organisers told the government that the games’ financial problems were temporary. The Quebec government provided an emergency loan of $1.4 million (CAN), which, by some accounts, saved the Outgames from being cancelled.
Outgames’ co-president Marielle Dupere criticised Minister Normandeau for talking to the press about the financial loss. “We had an agreement with (the government of) Quebec that we were not supposed to talk with the media,” she told the Toronto Star.
Only weeks after Outgames’ conclusion, Co-president Mark Tewksbury claimed: “Montreal will enjoy significant social and economic benefits, both in the short and medium term.” Although there has been no response for comment about a cover up,
Dupere told Canadian media, “There are no regrets about the games. Montreal needs this kind of international event to position itself in the market.”
Much of the failure of the Games has been credited to the lack of endorsement from the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) who chose to support Chicago’s bid to host the Seventh annul Gay Games in Chicago, which took place two weeks before the Montreal competition.
The FGG had warned the Montreal organising committee to cut back its large-scale vision of the games because of the losses at the Sydney Games in 2002. Montreal refused to do so, and this strife caused the two events to be held separately. So far there has been little comment about combining the two events which both suffered deficits this year.
So far, plans are underway to hold a second Outgames, but representatives are reluctant to speak about the financial status. As for the Chicago Games’ finances, increased holiday sales of the commemorative DVD may cover the Chicago Games deficit before their April 2007 deadline for final reports.
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