Women’s Basketball to Chase the LGBT Market

Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner shoots against the Minnesota Lynx during the second half of a WNBA basketball game in Phoenix in 2013.
Matt York—AP Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner shoots against the Minnesota Lynx during a game in Phoenix in 2013. Griner, who is one of a handful of WNBA athletes who have publicly identified themselves as lesbian, was happy the league was embracing the community.

The WNBA will market to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community with pride parades, team events and advertising, a first for a pro sports league

The WNBA is launching a marketing campaign to attract gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered fans to its games, making it the first professional sports league to specifically target the LGBT community.

The effort will include having its teams take part in local pride festivals and parades, advertising with lesbian media, and hosting grassroots awareness events, the Associated Press reports. Tulsa and Chicago will play a nationally televised Pride game on June 22.

The LGBT community makes up a significant portion of the WNBA’s fan base. In 2012, a WNBA commissioned study found that 25 percent of lesbians watch WNBA games on TV.

“For us it’s a celebration of diversity and inclusion and recognition of an audience that has been with us very passionately,” WNBA President Laurel Richie said. “This is one of those moments in the ‘W’ where everybody comes together.”

The WNBA campaign launches amid a wave of greater acceptance of gay athletes in sports: NBA player Jason Collins and the NFL’s St. Louis Rams draftee Michael Sam have become the first openly gay players in their respective sports, and UMass basketball player Derrick Gordon has described his experience as a gay Division I player.


Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team