Gay Games Registration At Record Low Six Months Before Opening Ceremony

Gay Games Registration At Record Low Six Months Before Opening Ceremony
Image: Facebook

Registration numbers for this year’s Gay Games are at a historic low, causing worry among organisers. 

Held every four years, the Gay Games is an international LGBTQI sport and cultural event.

This year, the Gay Games is a split city event, co-hosted by Hong Kong and Guadalajara from November 3 to 11.

This comes after the Games were delayed in September 2021 because of “ongoing uncertainty regarding the state of travel restrictions internationally,” during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Record Low Participation

However, it is failing to attract participants. 

According to Outsports, only 1,200 paid entrants have signed up for this year’s games; 780 for Guadalajara and 433 for Hong Kong.

The 2018 Gay Games in Paris had 4,000 registered participants, 10 months prior to their start. 

One reason for the decrease in participation could be due to registration opening late, only in the last seven months.

Splintering Of Queer Sport Championships

Another reason for the decrease is that championships for both the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics (IGLA) and the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association (IGLFA), are not happening at the Gay Games. IGLA’s championship is being hosted in London and IGLFA’s championship is hosted in Buenos Aires.

Members from these groups account for approximately 15 percent of participants. 

Lost Valuable Time Due To COVID

According to the Hong Kong Free Press, Hong Kong registrations for the Games are 90 percent below target. 

Organisers are blaming the city’s Covid-19 rules saying that they hampered publicity efforts.

“The pandemic related travel restrictions for Hong Kong made it very difficult for us to plan our promotional activities, so we lost valuable time last year where we could not promote aggressively,” said one organiser.”

The organiser added that they reached “close to 10 percent” of their signup target, with the most popular events being dragon boat racing and tennis.  

‘Marketing Efforts Have Just Begun’

Federation of Gay Games co-chair Sean Fitzgerald believes the numbers will increase in the coming months. 

“The marketing efforts have just begun. We just sent out our individual sports mailers to past participants in the last week. We’re hoping to see an uptick in registrations from that.”

According to Fitzgerald, despite the lack of registration, “There will be events in both cities this November. We had contingency calls monthly since before COVID. And we’ve already passed their go/no-go date.”

He added, “There is still a possibility that some of the team sports will be canceled. Before we do that we will speak to the current registrants to see if they want to continue with the current event. That decision will be made before the end of May.”

The first Gay Games was hosted by San Francisco in 1982. The next Gay Games is scheduled to be hosted by Valencia, Spain in 2026. 

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One response to “Gay Games Registration At Record Low Six Months Before Opening Ceremony”

  1. I think the “real” reason for the decrease in participation is the current “political situation” in Hong Kong (most especially with regards to LGBTQI+ people)…

    Hong Kong is no longer “LGBTQI+ Friendly” (or friendly to many others for that matter)…