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.
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“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.