Hong Kong's flagship airline Cathay Pacific, which sponsored the city's bid to host the 2022 Gay Games, has pledged to let pilots from its LGBT+community fly the bid delegation home after its victorious bid won in Paris on Monday night.
Now that the bid committee has fulfilled its mission, it falls on organisers to take the next big step of securing sponsorship, even though the event is about five years away.
Speaking during a Facebook Live session from Paris on Tuesday, Dennis Philipse, founder and chair of Gay Games XI Hong Kong 2022, was pragmatic when asked about his expectations for sponsorship.
"At the moment, we are not asking the government for funding," he said. "The funding will come from the corporate sector, so the corporate sector is very important."
Backed by Out in HK, the bid drew a wide range of international and local names as sponsors and supporters, including Google, Accor Hotels, Mandarin Oriental, homegrown conglomerate the Lan Kwai Fong Group as well as government-linked bodies such as the Hong Kong Tourism Board. The committee has also worked with Ogilvy & Mather in the planning for the bid.
Philipse pointed out that Hong Kong's successful bid would give the Gay Games brand exposure to Asian-based sponsors given that the event will be held in Asia for the first time. "In the past, the number of participants in the Gay Games has been quite low," he said. "So it will be a good opportunity to reach out to Asian companies and tap into an event where we expect 15,000 participants and an audience of 40,000." The Hong Kong Gay Games is expected to cost US$7 million with an estimated revenue of US$9 million.
Paul Choi, director of relationships of government, expressed his wish for brands from across Asia to join the games. "At this point in time, we are very 'healthy' in terms of corporate sponsorship, a lot of them are from international firms which have a very long history in China," he said. "As an Asian, I want to see more participation and sponsorship from Asian countries that are local and they care about who we are in the region."
Despite its name, The Gay Games, which started in San Francisco in 1982, is open to all. Its spirit of inclusion allows same-sex pairings in figure skating, for example. The Hong Kong edition will have 36 categories including local sports such as dragon-boat racing and trail running.