In 2014 the World OutGames secured a $200,000 grant from the Florida Sports Foundation. But a year later the FSF board grew concerned OutGames was not meeting fundamental benchmarks, such as locking in and securing sites for events.
That red flag was just one of many that would pop up over the course of the last 2 years.
Instead of pulling the grant, FSF altered the terms. They were amended so that funds would be paid to the organization after the events, instead of before. It was a precautionary move.
Lisa Osteen, director of marketing for FSF, explained the reasoning for the change in the grant conditions. “We have to protect our state funds,” she said.
The stated mission of the FSF is to bring out of state tourists to Florida for sports, so any monies given to a grantee must support that mission. The World OutGames was a perfect fit because it would draw so many out of state athletes and spectators.
FSF provided SFGN with a copy of the OutGames’ grant application.
According to the document they projected 9,840 competitors, coaches, trainers and officials would attend the event. They calculated 8,167 would be from out of state. They projected 17,268 spectators would attend, with 12,250 of them coming from out of state as well. They also anticipated 160 media outlets would be there to cover the 10-day event, overshooting the mark by about 150. There were less than 10.
How much is that all worth to the state of Florida? They gauged it would be a $27.7 million economic impact.
OutGames initially requested $400,000 from FSF, but they were only awarded $200,000.
While it’s difficult to get any reliable information from OutGames at this point, a spokesperson from the organization recently told SFGN about 2,000 athletes had registered for the event, which is far short of the almost 10,000 they once projected.
OutGames listed their upcoming expenses in its application. It included $75,000 for promotions, marketing and programming; $136,500 for advertisements and media buys; $23,500 for production and technical expenses; and $165,000 for section fees.
According to the grant’s regulations, if OutGames met 80 percent of their projections they would receive 100 percent of the funding. If not, the grant would be based on a sliding scale- so if they met only 30 percent of their projections they would only get 30 percent of the grant.
At this point, Osteen said the grant was still in effect, if the OutGames board provides the necessary proof of their projections within 90 days after the conclusion of the event.
FSF is funded through the state of Florida, private donations and from sales of professional team license plates.