May 23, 2014 by Alyse LaHue
This week the WNBA launched a new PRIDE campaign, being the first U.S. pro sports organization to formally launch a league-wide campaign aimed at LGBT inclusion. The WNBA has for years had a strong LGBT fan presence at its games, so this is just a natural step towards vocal inclusion.
Obviously it is great timing with national pride month events coming up in June, and coincides with the Chicago Red Stars own Pride Night on June 4th, but more on that in a moment.
The WNBA campaign comes with its own landing page wnba.com/PRIDE with specific interest stories as well as a PRIDE-based logo:
The campaign is also Presented By Covergirl, who has never shied away from LGBT spotlights after having Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson for many years. Covergirl launched their own campaign this year with the hashtag #GIRLSCAN and CG VP Esi Eggleston Bracey had this to say:
“Our recently launched #GirlsCan campaign was established to help women overcome boundaries to break barriers, including in the pursuit of a career where women are currently under-represented, like professional sports. We are proud partners of the WNBA.”
This is another important campaign component that gives the WNBA much further reach than if they were attacking the initiative solo. The only curious thing I noticed was that Covergirl is nowhere to be found on the WNBA PRIDE page.
National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) doesn’t have a specified campaign of this caliber targeting individual groups, but the Chicago Red Stars are taking part wholeheartedly in Pride month activities, including the above mentioned Wednesday, June 4 Pride Night when we take on the Washington Spirit at 7 p.m.
The Red Stars have partnered with organizations such as Hope For The Day, a non-profit org that uses music and the arts as a defense mechanism to suicide. The initiative for June 4 is ‘Soccer Gives Me Hope’ and will feature video from Red Stars players. The Red Stars also sponsored a LGBT suicide prevention specific event with HFTD on Valentine’s Day of 2014 called ‘Love Gives Me Hope’:
A photo with HFTD founder Jonny Boucher from the event:
The Red Stars are also working with other local youth LGBT organizations on the Pride Night initiative and we hope to continue it as a yearly Pride Month event.
Looks like it’ll be the biggest and best Pride Month yet in pro sports.
What have been your favorite pro sports or sports business Pride initiatives?