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South Beach, Miami: A possible host for the gay WorldOutgames in 2017.

The world of LGBT sport is increasingly busy, with an ever-growing number of national and international single and multi-sport tournaments on offer.

One of the key drivers for this is the tourism value that can be created by an LGBT sports tournament, and major cities around the world are actively supporting local clubs and organizations to host events and attract international visitors.

In 2013 the World Outgames will be held in Antwerp. Organizers are hoping to attract nearly 10,000 competitors.

Also in 2013 the US city of Seattle will host the annual championship of International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics (IGLA).

And 2014 is a Gay Games year with the world’s LGBT athletes traveling to Cleveland.

Looking a bit further ahead GLISA (the Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association) - the organization that runs the World Outgames every four years - has just announced which cities are bidding to hold its event in 2017.

Paul Brummitt, chairperson of GLISA’s selection committee, has confirmed that the cities bidding to host the 2017 World Outgames are:

  • Denver
  • Miami Beach
  • Reykjavik
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • Rome

So let’s take a look at each of these cities and assess some of the pros and cons for the LGBT sports lovers of the world.

Denver

  • The capital of US state Colorado and has a population of just over 600,000.
  • Originally established as a frontier mining town, much of Denver’s recent growth was fueled by the oil and energy boom of the 70s and 80s, and today Denver is a major transport and trade hub.
  • Denver’s climate is very sunny, averaging 300 days of sunshine a year. July is the warmest month of the year, with high temperatures averaging almost 90°F (32°C).
  • PrideFest - Denver's annual gay pride event - is held in June each year and draws an estimated 200,000 participants and spectators.
  • In the sporting world, Denver has some notoriety as the only city ever to decline to host an Olympiad after being selected - the 1976 Winter Olympics were awarded to Denver however subsequently had to be moved to Innsbruck in Austria after voters refused to support the allocation of public funds required to host the games.

Miami Beach

  • Miami Beach is a coastal resort city in the US state of Florida.
  • Originally noted as an area for avocado plantations, Miami Beach was developed as a resort in the early 1900s with the first hotel being built in 1915.
  • Renowned for its historic art deco architecture, the economic and social revitalization of Miami Beach has in part been attributed to an influx of gays and lesbians moving into the area in the late-80s, in part leading to Miami Beach becoming a popular national and international tourist destination.
  • Miami beach has a tropical monsoon climate, with hot humid summers and warm winters.  There is a marked wet season during the summer months and it is vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms.

Reykjavik

  • Reykjavik is the largest city in Iceland and has a population of around 120,000.
  • The city was founded in 1786 and has grown from a small trading town to become the country's capital.
  • Summers in Reykjavik are cool, with temperatures generally ranging from between 10 to 15°C (50 to 59°F).
  • Volcanic activity in Iceland provides Reykjavik with geothermal heating systems for both residential and industrial purposes.
  • In 2012 Reykjavik successfully hosted the annual championship of the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatic association.

Rio de Janeiro

  • Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city of Brazil with approximately 6.3 million people within the city.
  • Rio has a tropical savanna climate - in inland areas of the city, temperatures above 40°C (104°F) are common during the summer, though rarely for long periods, while maximum temperatures above 27°C (81°F) can occur on a monthly basis.
  • Officially the most visited city in the Southern Hemisphere, in 2014 Rio will host the final match for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and in 2016 the city will host the Summer Olympics.
  • According to a recent survey by the University of Sao Paulo, 14.3% of the population of Rio de Janeiro self-identify as LGBT

Rome

  • As the capital of Italy, Rome has a population of 2.8 million people.
  • Rome's history spans more than two and a half thousand years and is regarded as one of the birthplaces of western civilization.
  • Rome hosted the 1960 Summer Olympics and is the third most visited city in the European Union.
  • Although a relatively conservative city, in 2007 a 300-meter shopping and bar area in the center of the city on Via San Giovanni in Laterano was was formally designated designated as a gay and lesbian friendly neighborhood.


So it’s clear that each of the competing cities have their merits and their attractions to the international traveler. 

The next step in this process is to announce a short list of the bidding cities - indications are that the cities that have been successfully shortlisted will be announced in December 2012.

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