The long-planned sporting and cultural event known as the World OutGames has canceled nearly all of its sports events.
The bombshell revelation came via a text message from the event’s board of directors sent to Miami Beach officials Friday.
“It is with deep regret that due to financial burdens, World OutGames must cancel its sports programming and Opening and Closing Ceremony with the exception of soccer, aquatics and country western dance,” reads the text. “The Human Rights Conference and cultural programs will continue as planned. We thank everyone who has supported the effort and apologize to those who will be impacted by this difficult decision.”
The 10-day event, which is supported and hosted by LGBTQ groups and allies, was billed for years as a large scale celebration of diversity through sports and social events. Tourism leaders and elected officials lobbied to bring the OutGames to Miami — the first time the event is hosted in the U.S. Local government agencies have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars sponsoring OutGames.
Now, it’s unraveling due to financial problems that were first hinted at in recent months.
Officials at Miami Beach City Hall expressed concern for the OutGames ability to meet financial goals in memos to commissioners outlining slower-than-expected fundraising.
Organizers publicly reassured elected leaders that fundraising was on track and the show would go on. Now, the city is demanding an audit of OutGames’ books.
The Beach is the entity that would be granting the majority of permits for several events that had been planned for the OutGames. As of noon Friday, the OutGames had not paid a deposit for necessary permits.
Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald.