Three and a half thousand people must register for the Sydney 2002 Gay Games within the next two weeks in order for organisers to meet their registration targets.

Although Sydney 2002 last week refused to divulge their current registration numbers, the tally was available on their website this week. As of Tuesday, 10,539 people had registered for the Games, including 2,108 from Aus-tralia. As yet there has been no sign of a last-minute rush before the 31 July deadline for registrations. With only 377 registrations in the last two weeks, the rate has remained relatively constant for the last month.

But Sydney 2002 co-chair Bev Lange said they were still anticipating a last-minute rush for registration.

We’re seeing some steady growth happening, she told Sydney Star Observer. People are waiting to the last minute to register. We’re reasonably comfortable that the domestic market will do their registrations very late.

We still don’t think our target is out of reach. It will be a last-minute flurry but we don’t think it will be out of reach, she said.

While participant registration remains an area of concern to Gay Games organisers, community members at last Saturday’s Sydney 2002 forum focused on more basic issues such as sport scheduling, volunteering and the much-talked-about Team Sydney uniform.

Approximately 60 people attended the Games forum at Paddington Town Hall. The Sydney 2002 promotional video was screened and a number of Games veterans shared their stories of Gay Games excitement with the receptive crowd.

Lange also revealed at Saturday’s forum that Sydney 2002 was in negotiations regarding the televising of the Games opening ceremony. Talks were also being had about the possibility of screening a half-hour nightly program during Games time, she said.

The reasons for Gay Games to broadcast its events were not dissimilar to the reasons why Mardi Gras wants to broadcast the parade, Lange said. However, she confirmed that Sydney 2002 was not in negotiations with the company that has produced the Mardi Gras parade broadcast over the past few years.

[The Games] have got some important messages, and we’re keen to get those out in a range of ways, and this is one of them, she said. It clearly also has a value to sponsors, but that’s not the primary reason for doing it.

While broadcast negotiations continue, so too do ticket sales, and this week Lange reported that over 10 percent of the total 120,000 Gay Games tickets had already been snapped up.

The Sunset Party at Lady Macquarie’s Chair has proved the hottest ticket item, and will soon approach sell-out.

Predictably, it’s been the fastest selling of the parties, but the others are starting to catch up, Lange said. We’re certainly demonstrating strong sales for the ceremonies, the key sporting activities and the cultural program that has been released to date.

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