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Gay, lesbian Internet users bigger sports fans than their straight counterparts

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Nielsen survey finds sports engagement of gay, lesbians higher than population as a whole.

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Portland Timber MLS fans
Portland Timber MLS fans
Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

So much for the myth that "gay sports fan" is an oxymoron. A new Nielsen survey found gay and lesbian Internet users are more engaged pro sports fans than fans on average when it comes to attending sports events, playing fantasy sports and consuming news online. From the survey:

Gay and lesbian consumers - professional athletes or not - are also sports enthusiasts off the courts and fields. In many ways, they're bigger aficionados than average fans. For instance, adult gay and lesbian Internet users are 11 percent more likely than the average adult online to attend pro sporting events, according to Nielsen, and 7 percent more likely to participate in an adult sports league.

Gay and lesbian adults are 51 percent more likely than the average adult to watch sports-related videos online and 28 percent more likely to boot up their computer to get their sports news. They're also big fans of fantasy sports, as they're 39 percent more likely to play fantasy sports online than the average adult Internet user.

Nielsen surveyed 9,000 Americans in the first three months of the year. Among sports websites, SB Nation had the highest concentration of gay and lesbian users, not a surprise since the company now owns Outsports. The survey should be a wake-up call to sports leagues, Eric Solomon, senior vice president of global digital audience measurement told USA TODAY:

The findings suggest that "gay and lesbian consumers should definitely be considered" in messaging by leagues, stadiums and sports networks, Solomon said. "Besides having a great deal of spending power, they're highly active online, especially when engaging with sports content."