Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Jock Talk: World Outgames sees delay in getting venues


Outgames publicist Robert Wagenseil. Photo: Courtesy Facebook
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With eight months to go before the scheduled opening of the 2018 World Outgames in Miami, organizers are working to assure potential participants that the swimming portion of the event will proceed as planned despite delays in securing venues.

Before August, organizers had listed Ransom Everglades School Aquatics Center and the University of Miami as the host locations for pool events. But an August 19 story in the Washington Blade reported swimming finals would be held at Florida International University Stadium, and shortly afterward the reference to swimming venues disappeared from the World Outgames website.

On September 14, the board of the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics Association wrote its members, saying it had "become aware of potential issues with Outgames aquatics, and are working to resolve the situation as best we can to ensure the integrity of the IGLA Championships for IGLA participants and member teams. We encourage athletes who intend to register for Outgames 2017 to please postpone doing so until questions around the status of the championships are fully resolved."

This week, the IGLA board reported organizers had told them they had signed an agreement with Ransom Everglades and paid a deposit, and now were in the process of negotiating a contract for another facility, and asked athletes to wait a bit longer until the second venue was secured.

Through a spokesman with Goodman Public Relations, Outgames organizers told the Bay Area Reporter this week that they were confident they could hold swimming, water polo, and synchronized swimming

Several athletes have expressed nervousness about the Miami Outgames because of past problems with the sports component of the World Outgames sports, cultural and conference event. Registration numbers fell far short of initial projections for the first two World Outgames in Montreal and Copenhagen, and although Copenhagen reported finishing in the black, the Montreal Outgames lost millions of dollars. Some competition brackets were collapsed or tournaments eliminated at all of the Outgames, and the Antwerp event in 2013 never published financial or registration figures.

An article in Hot Spots magazine in 2014 claimed "attendance records from the 2013 World Outgames, where over 10,000 athletes participated" would be "eclipsed" by Miami with "over 15,000 participants." A fundraising page set up for the 2017 Outgames in 2014 repeated that 15,000 "athletes and participants" projection.

Asked this week about how many people had registered for 2017 and whether organizers were still projecting 15,000 participants, Goodman's Robert Wagenseil said he did not know how many had registered and that statements about past and projected attendance were based on figures provided by the Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association, the organization from which Miami purchased the licensing agreement. Wagenseil said organizers still hoped that they would have 8,000 to 10,000 participants in sports and 1,000 to 2,000 each in cultural events and human rights conferences. Those goals include volunteers and speakers in addition to artists and athletes.

Miami organizers have had two fundraising pages – - / and – with published combined goals of $300,000. As of the start of this week, they had generated a combined total of less than $14,000.

Wagenseil said funding is "on track," with money coming largely from government and tourism agencies, as well as corporations.


Sin City Shootout registration

Registration is now live at for the 10th annual Sin City Shootout in Las Vegas, to be held January 15-19.

The multisports festival, which started out as a softball tournament a decade ago, has grown organically into the largest annual LGBT sports event and now offers 32 sports. In addition to sports such as tennis, basketball and soccer, the festival offers ice hockey, water polo, and arm wrestling.

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