Eleven months before kick-off, organisers of next year’s OutGames in Montreal say they are financially and logistically ready to stage a successful event.

About 29 percent of the Games’ $16.9 million budget is coming from government agencies. A further 30 percent will come from secured sponsors and 27 percent from registrations. Sales from party tickets and merchandise will only account for nine percent of the budget.

Sydney’s 2002 Gay Games, which ended in a $2 million debt, was criticised for relying too heavily on revenue from ticket sales.

OutGames co-president and Olympic gold medallist Mark Tewksbury told Sydney Star Observer he was confident Montreal would attract 16,000 participant registrations despite competition from the Chicago Gay Games.

We’ve done the in-depth evaluation of each department, the sports and cultural departments, the marketing departments, how many volunteers, how many meals, how many tennis balls -“ all that sort of stuff, Tewksbury said.

We’ve secured a budget for 16,000 participants. We have numbers to hit on 31 December, and we still have great flexibility and time to make adjustments should it look like those projections are too high.

Tewksbury said the Games would break even if the figure reached 13,000 (registrations hit 6,500 recently), which is definitely more than achievable.

We’re not even thinking in terms of less than that, Tewksbury said.

Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay has emerged as a very public supporter of the OutGames. Tremblay told the Star there was broad support for the gay and lesbian community in Montreal, and this goodwill would extend to next year’s Games.

The City of Montreal’s million-dollar investment in the Games would be returned in several ways, he said.

If you look at the gay and lesbian community, what they’ve done is remarkable, Tremblay said.

They’ve renovated all the properties and revitalised all of the streets in their area [Montreal’s gay village around St Catherine Street]. This money is a recognition of their contribution, not only at an economic level, but at a social and cultural level as well, he said.

There’s always been a major support for every event of the gay community. We’re expecting 250,000 visitors here -“ and we’re expecting that Montrealers will really get involved and really enjoy it.

OutGames organisers hosted more than 150 international visitors last week, including the Sydney Star Observer and Sydney-based Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association member and Team Sydney president Geoffrey Lyne. Lyne told the Star Team Sydney was supporting its members’ decisions to attend either Chicago or Montreal or both events.

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