By Dirk Smith, M.Sc, SDL (He/Him)

A multi-day sports festival featuring 24 sports held each January, the Sin City Classic draws more than 10,000 LGBTQ+ athletes, allies, and fans to Las Vegas—making it the largest annual LGBTQ+ sporting event in the world. Sports include basketball, dodgeball, kickball, swimming, soccer, bowling, softball, flag football, volleyball, esports and many more. The Compete Sports Diversity has also been hosting its Sports Diversity Awards and Winter leadership conference in partnership with the Sin City Classic since 2014. Compete also produces the event’s tournament guide.

In May, the Sin City Classic is “connecting” with the Connect Sports Diversity Summit as a sponsor which “brings together the most active planners, suppliers and experts across the association, corporate, diversity, sports diversity and west markets.” The summit is set to take place on May 24th-26th in Las Vegas and includes three days of events including keynote speeches from Dr. Jen Welter, the NFL’s first female coach and Team USA Paralympic track and field star, Lex Gillette.

“We are excited to partner with Connect for the Diversity Sports Summit. This is a great opportunity for diversity sport planners to explore many great event venue options while also learning more about the specific needs and interests of the diverse LGBTQ+ community. It also offers a chance to network and discuss the challenges we’ll all face in pivoting back to live sporting events over the next few years,” says Ken Scearce, executive director of the Sin City Classic.

The partnership means that CVBs, hotels and venues will have a chance to connect with a greater number of elite event organizers who are tapped into the valuable LGBTQ+ travel and events markets. As an example of the power of the community, The Gay Games, which has sent representatives to the diversity summit each year, estimates its 2018 event had an economic impact of more than $100 million—with 40% of its 10,317 participants traveling from outside the Paris metropolitan area, where the 2018 Games were hosted.

“Sin City Classic is a leader in LGBTQ+ multi-sport events, and its wealth of experience and knowledge will greatly benefit attendees at the Diversity Sports Summit,” says Connect Vice President Patrick Higgins. “Not only will this partnership bring a record number of LGBTQ+ sporting event organizers to meet with cities, hotels and venues, but we’ll be offering some very impactful education and best practice sharing for our attendees as well.”

With the cancellation of the 2021 Sin City Classic due to the pandemic, the organizers and community in Las Vegas and throughout the country are looking forward to getting back to business and reconnecting with LGBTQ+ athletes and teams from all over the world.

Photo by Thomas Wolf via Wikimedia Commons