Report: Gay Games added $52 million to Northeast Ohio economy

Gay Games 9 organizers march in June's Cleveland Pride parade. Staff Reports

Gay Games 9 organizers march in June's Cleveland Pride parade.

Gay Games 9 organizers march in June’s Cleveland Pride parade.

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The 2014 Gay Games, which attracted nearly 8,000 athletes to Northeast Ohio in August, added $52 million to the local economy during the eight-day event, according to a new study by two economics professors at Kent State University.

The Plain Dealer reports that spending far exceeded the estimated $36 million that was spent in the area during the 2013 National Senior Games, held in Cleveland in July 2013 – despite the fact that the Senior Games drew 25,000 visitors, while the Gay Games attracted 20,000.

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Shawn M. Rohlin, an assistant professor of economics at Kent State, speculated that Gay Games visitors came from farther away – the event is an international draw – stayed longer and spent more.

“The Gay Games attracted people from around the world,” said Rohlin, who conducted the economic impact studies for both the Gay Games and the Senior Games. “And they certainly spent a lot of money.”

Thomas Nobbe, the Cleveland-based director of Gay Games 9, said the typical demographic of a Gay Games participant – age 35 to 55, with discretionary income to spare – suggested that the economic impact would be substantial.

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