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Chargers will host LGBT viewing parties with Venice Pride in Los Angeles

First up is Sunday’s game against the Patriots.

Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Chargers
Keenan Allen celebrates a Chargers touchdown against the Broncos.
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Chargers will host a viewing event for LGBT fans for Sunday’s game at the New England Patriots, believed to be the first such event sponsored by an NFL team.

The team has partnered with Venice Pride for what is being called Gay Gridiron. Sunday’s game will be shown at 10 a.m. PDT at the Basement Tavern, 2640 Main St., Santa Monica.

“Equity, diversity, inclusion, and unity are fundamental to who we are as a franchise, “ said Jeffrey Pollack, special advisor to the Los Angeles Chargers. “We are proud of our partnership with Venice Pride and want all fans to feel like they are part of the team — home or away.”

The event will feature a Charger Girls photo booth and team giveaways such as bandannas and footballs. The Varsity Gay League, which sponsors LGBT sports teams in the city, is hosting the event.

“We are proud to partner with the Chargers Organization for the launch of Gay Gridiron and together, work to raise visibility around inclusion and unity for athletes and sports fans alike here in Los Angeles,” said Kayce Brown, Venice Pride board member.

The Chargers, who moved to Los Angeles from San Diego this season, were a sponsor in this year’s Venice Pride. Future viewing parties are planned for the remaining Chargers away games.

“From our inception, Venice Pride has pushed the envelope in unique and impactful ways, funneling grass-roots community involvement, equality and empowerment to Angelenos across the city. The L.A. Chargers are dedicated to making all communities in L.A. feel welcome. We are thrilled to support the team’s efforts to raise visibility for the devoted LGBT football fans of L.A.,” said Grant Turck, executive director of Venice Pride.

A viewing party is a start for a team trying to build its brand in a new market. A good next step would be to host a Pride night at a game. It will be tough this season since it’s half over, but 2018 would be very doable. The Chargers will play in the 27,000-seat StubHub Center in Carson for three seasons.

Sunday’s game is attractive given that the Patriots (5-2) have won five Super Bowls and have stars like quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski. The Chargers are on a three-game winning streak after starting the season 0-4 but are nine-point underdogs on Sunday.