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The Gay Games has been plagued by financial shortfalls following several previous events, and this year was no exception. But organizers of this year's Games in Chicago say they have a plan to fill the gap.
With a $200,000 budget shortfall on an event that was predicted to at least break even, organizers are selling off all of their assets to make up the difference, the Chicago Tribune reports. The massive signs from opening and closing ceremonies and the very desks where workers plotted the event that brought a world of gay and lesbian athletes to Chicago this summer can be anyone's for the right price, they say.
By shedding these assets and soliciting donations, organizers who ran the Games on a $10 million cash budget say they will get back to zero or maybe even generate a slight surplus by the spring. Either way, Gay Games leaders say they have proved the event doesn't need to be a notorious money-loser.
Kevin Boyer, a spokesman for Chicago Games Inc., the local nonprofit that staged the event, told the Tribune there is little chance the Chicago Games won't at least break even. He acknowledged that some bills have been paid a bit slowly but insisted there will be no financial losers when the final tally is done. "The question was always, Would we be able to break even without asking for a little money from the community?" he said. "Of course we would prefer if we didn't have to raise additional money, but we're pleased it's modest."
Boyer told the Tribune the Chicago Games had been on track to break even but were set back by a heat wave early in the Games. Last-minute spending on water, ice, drivers, and trucks resulted in additional costs, he said. "These events have some wild cards in them all along," Boyer said. "You get a massive heat wave and ensure the health of the athletes, then let the dust settle."
The Chicago Games assets will be sold at warehouse sales at two Brown Elephant stores, resale shops that benefit Chicago's Howard Brown Health Center. Available items will include country and state banners used at opening and closing ceremonies, T-shirts, posters, pins, music CDs, and furniture. "We plan to have a lot of fun with that," Boyer said. "And it will lower the bills." (The Advocate)