Do you flock to LGBT Pride nights at your local sports complex? Congrats! You are doing what they want you to do and they're taking your money. In a recent post on Bloomberg.com, Jeff Green elaborates on what waving the rainbow flag high above the stadium means, but in the end he say "The bottom line: Pro sports leagues are hosting pride nights to welcome LGBT fans and tap into their purchasing power."
A rainbow flag unfurled during the national anthem at a D.C. United soccer match in August was a signal to Robert York that the team was throwing out the welcome mat to people like him. “It was a powerful symbol,” says York, a lifelong soccer fan who’s gay. “It’s about the fact that love wins overall, more so after what happened in Orlando,” he says of the June 12 shooting at Pulse nightclub that killed 49 people.
Professional U.S. sports leagues, long seen as a bastion of homophobia, are increasingly sending the message that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender fans are welcome at the ballpark. So far this year, about three dozen professional baseball, soccer, and women’s basketball teams have hosted pride nights, inviting members of the LGBT community to throw first pitches or participate in coin tosses, handing out commemorative merchandise, and donating a portion of ticket sales to LGBT causes.
Jeff Green goes on to quote Oris Stuart, the NBA’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, in saying that it Pride nights has become a core value and it helps to grow the game. Jessica Berman, vice president for special projects and corporate social responsibility at the NHL, states it helps the teams to be more proactive and reaching out to the fans. MLB hired Billy Bean in July 2014 to serve as its first ambassador of inclusion. Bean retired from playing in 1995 and came out as gay in 1999.
LGBT fans have almost $1 trillion in purchasing power, according to an annual survey by Witeck Communications, a consulting firm that focuses on the gay-and-lesbian market. “Sports teams depend on fan lifeblood, and a growing share of LGBT total spending means more money to fill seats, buy swag, and cheer themselves hoarse,” says founder Bob Witeck. Sports marketers can’t ignore this option, he says.
Head over to Bloomberg.com for more of this story where they do discuss homophobia in sports, Wade Davis's fight against it, and the fight for inclusion.
Do you think professional sports are just after our money?
Do you think they want to see us in the stands AND on the field?
Do you think they want it both ways and are we okay with that?
Have you attended an LGBT night before? How did that go?