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Orlando to bid to host 2018 Gay Games

Orlando's new gay and lesbian visitors' bureau will announce that it will bid to host the 2018 Gay Games. It's part of a desire to make the Florida city -- home of Disney World -- a gay destination for events other than the annual Gay Days, held each June. From the Orlando Sentinel:

"We've estimated over 200,000 attendees over a seven- to 10-day period," said Mikael Audebert, executive director Converge Orlando, which will market itself as Orlando Gay Travel. "We are going to work with the entire region to make this happen."

The Gay Games have not historically drawn a crowd of that magnitude; it generally draws 10,000 to 12,000 athletes and participants. But Orlando organizers hope they can attract a significant number of spectators by holding the games in October, a month that includes key local events, such as Epcot's Food & Wine Festival; Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights; and Orlando's Come Out with Pride week, which Audebert helps organize.

October would certainly present less oppressive weather than the normal late July or August time for other Gay Games (save for the 2002 event in Australia), but it's also a time not associated with vacations for most people, especially for an event that lasts a week. Any final decision on the 2018 bid will be made by the Federation of Gay Games.

The Sentinel story said Orlando was one of 15 cities that will bid for the Gay Games X, a process that will be decided in late 2013. I have no idea where they got that number, since so far I can only find references to London, Paris and possibly Brazil pushing 2018 bids. It's hard to see many more cities than that bidding, given the costs and logistics of hosting a weeklong event for thousands of athletes in about 30 sports.

With Cleveland hosting the 2014 Games, I would guess that Orlando would be at a disadvantage since the U.S. has not hosted consecutive Gay Games since San Francisco held the first two in 1982 and 1986.