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Outsports celebrates its 15th birthday

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Outsports first published on Nov. 10, 1999. Since then the two co-founders, Jim Buzinski and Cyd Zeigler, have built the largest LGBT sports publication in the world.

Over a dozen people whose coming-out stories were featured on Outsports gathered for the third Nike LGBT Sports Summit in June 2014.
Over a dozen people whose coming-out stories were featured on Outsports gathered for the third Nike LGBT Sports Summit in June 2014.

Outsports today celebrates the 15th anniversary of its first publication, posting its initial stories on Nov. 10, 1999.

The Web site started as a venue for two gay NFL fans - Cyd Zeigler and Jim Buzinski - to talk about their favorite sports league. It was originally conceived at a coffee house in Chatham, Mass., as the two co-founders felt there was a void of opportunities for gay men to interact with other gay sports fans and athletes. They featured hot NFL players of the week, gave out a weekly Wade Phillips Bonehead Coach Of The Week Award, and shared NFL insights on each week's games. The site was quickly featured on Yahoo! and requests came in to cover other sports, most notably college football and college basketball.

Outsports has shifted focus since those early days, as the site now highlights specific LGBT sports news and stories, leaving much of the analysis of day-to-day sports results to parent company SB NationVox Media, which owns SB Nation, acquired Outsports in the autumn of 2011.

Over the years Outsports has broken some of the stories that have helped shape the LGBT sports movement and shift the conversation in sports, including the coming stories of over 100 people in sports like former NBA player John Amaechi; active college basketball players Jallen MessersmithDerek Schell and Derrick Gordon; Transgender athletes and coaches Kye AllumsChris Mosier and Stephen Alexander; Former football players Brian SimsAlan Gendreau and Wade Davis; Current college football players Conner Mertens and Mitch Eby; Olympians Charline Labonte and Robbie Manson; and NFL player Michael Sam.

Other non-coming-out stories Outsports has broken include Jeremy Shockey's anti-gay comments to Howard Stern and the NFL Shop's ban of the word "gay" on its jerseys. Outsports was also the first publication to seek out dozens of professional athletes to comment on gay issues.

Outsports has been nominated for three GLAAD Media Awards and two NLGJA Awards, winning the latter's 2003 award for Excellence in New Media.