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Since 1982, the Gay Games have been staged every four years; the most recent one was Gay Games VI in Sydney, Australia, in November, 2002. It is an international event that attracts participation and spectators from over 100 countries. Sponsorship dollars have increased steadily and significantly at each Gay Games, from zero dollars in 1982 to $10 million in 2002. Sponsorship has come from both mainstream companies and gay and lesbian companies. At a time when lesbian and gay people are not yet fully accepted, appreciated, or understood in many countries, why would companies choose to use the Gay Games as a sponsorship venue, risking backlash from homophobic markets? Therefore, an objective of this study was to explore corporate sponsorship and the Gay Games. To date, three studies have been conducted on sponsorship and the Gay Games. This paper provides an overview of those studies and their results, an overview of the gay and lesbian sports market, and strategies marketers can use to reach the gay and lesbian sports market.


Originally published in:

Pitts, B. G. (2004). Banking on the pink dollar: Sponsorship Awareness and the Gay Games. In B. G. Pitts (Ed.), Sharing Best Practices in Sport Marketing: The Sport Marketing Association’s Inaugural Book of Papers (pp. 81-98). Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology.

(c) Fitness Information Technology. Posted with permission.

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