In a sponsorship boon for the Gay Games, the Newtown Hotel has agreed to inject a total of $100,000 into the event in a deal secured this week.

The hotel’s sponsorship will be split between direct funding for the Gay Games figure skating event, with the remainder contributing to general costs of staging the two-week sports and cultural festival.

Newtown Hotel owner Dawn O’Donnell told Sydney Star Observer that the Newtown wanted to support the Games because it’s an amazing event that Sydney will never have again.

I’ve been to New York Games, I’ve been to Amsterdam Games, and I’m about to hopefully see the Sydney Games -“ and every time I do I sense a huge spirit that’s there and it keeps getting better. Quite frankly I think to contribute to the Games is a wonderful thing to be doing, O’Donnell said.

I’ve got one hotel left and this [sponsorship deal] is basically one little deal from the Newtown. Out of every drink that people buy, 50 cents goes to the Gay Games, but I match it with 50 cents. Because of my years in hotels, I’ve very much wanted to make Newtown pub a large sponsor so I’m going to donate via the Newtown Hotel and in total it will finish up at $100,000.

The sponsorship comes at a time of financial instability for many community organisations. O’Donnell said that while she was aware of Mardi Gras’ need for sponsorship, her decision to go with the Gay Games was based on the fact that it is a one-off event for the city.

Mardi Gras won’t sink -“ don’t you worry about that. There’s too many people out there who will make sure we don’t lose Mardi Gras. Your Gay Games are only going to happen once. Mardi Gras has too many hands out there wanting to help and that’s a community thing. There’ll be a parade, love, the community will get together and people will help -“ don’t you worry about that, O’Donnell said.

The sponsorship deal will also reinforce the significance of the inner west as an epicentre for the gay and lesbian community outside of Oxford Street, according to O’Donnell.

I’ve had the Newtown for 20 years and I had the Imperial for 15 years and I hope that has made a gay scene in the inner west -“ and it has, come on, it really has. I wish we could get another half a dozen gay pubs in the inner west, because the more you have, the better the mix, she said.

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