as registration begins, gay games offers chance to sell cleveland to the world

Registration for the 2014 Gay Games (GG9) begins in May. This represents an opportunity to sell Northeast Ohio as a welcoming, inclusive region to a global audience, says GG9 Director Tom Nobbe.

"Cleveland represents a blank slate to many people in Western Europe and Asia, and that's both a challenge and an advantage," he says. "We have a compelling story to tell. We can position our region as not only welcoming to outsiders, but also as inclusive."

The Gay Games is a global sports and culture event that is coming to Cleveland and Akron August 9 through 16, 2014. It is one of the largest multi-sport festivals in the world that is open to all -- regardless of skill level, age (as long as you're 18 or over), sexual orientation or physical challenge. The weeklong festival is expected to draw more than 10,000 participants, along with an estimated 20,000 additional visitors, spectators, performers and volunteers.

GG9 has recruited more than 100 active volunteers to serve on nine committees that will promote the event. Local creative agencies such as Brokaw, Aztek and Consolidated Graphics Group are providing pro bono marketing services.

Nobbe wants to enlist Clevelanders to help promote the games and welcome participants while they're here. "This is going to change the region," he says. "Participants are going to spend money on hotels and restaurants."

"This is an opportunity to say, 'We've got a vibrant LGBT community,'" he adds. "We may not have Boystown, Chelsea or Castro, but that's because we're comfortable going to any community in Northeast Ohio."

Source: Tom Nobbe
Writer: Lee Chilcote
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