The WNBA kicked off Pride month Friday with two games and the other 10 teams will have such nights in the next four weeks to honor their LGBTQ fans.
“In celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month, the WNBA will again collaborate with GLSEN and Fanatics on an exclusive line of Pride apparel, including Fanatics-branded WNBA T-shirts and New Era caps featuring league and team logos,” the league said in a release. “The products will be available on WNBAStore.com, with all league proceeds benefiting GLSEN.
“Fans interested in further supporting [LGBTQ youth advocacy group] GLSEN can also purchase a ticket through the WNBA’s Take a Seat, Take A Stand program.
“For each ticket purchased, fans can choose for the WNBA to donate $5 to GLSEN as well as provide a ticket to the organization to send a young woman or girl to a game. Fans can also choose to donate tickets directly to GLSEN. Go to wnba.com/TakeAStand to participate.”
In addition, the league is promoting events with the hashtag #wnbapride on Twitter. ESPN is televising five Pride night games and the games were promoted Sunday during the NBA Finals.
The WNBA has a large base of lesbian fans and some of its top players are openly LGBTQ, but having all 12 teams with Pride nights is a recent and welcome trend for the league.
In Major League Baseball, 24 of the 30 teams have similar nights this season. In Major League Soccer, 17 of 23 teams do, as do eight of the nine teams in the National Women’s Soccer League. I don’t know the exact breakdown in the NBA, but it’s nowhere near every team. The NFL, where each team plays only eight mostly-sold out home games, has generally not needed to have specific theme games for any group.
In the NHL, all 31 teams this season had either a Pride or an Inclusion night, but the latter was not specific to LGBTQ fans. In fact, the Minnesota Wild upset some fans by not recognizing LGBTQ people during its inclusion night. All four teams in the National Women’s Hockey League had a Pride night this year.
Here is a list of WNBA Pride nights. The best way to buy a ticket is through the Take A Stand link. where $5 goes to one of six groups you can designate.
Minnesota Lynx, June 1 vs. Phoenix
Chicago Sky, June 1 vs. Connecticut
Los Angeles Sparks, June 7 vs. Seattle
New York Liberty, June 10 vs. Indiana
Connecticut Sun, June 13 vs. Washington
Dallas Wings, June 15 vs. Las Vegas
Phoenix Mercury, June 16 vs. Connecticut
Las Vegas Aces, June 22 vs. New York
Atlanta Dream, June 22 vs. Connecticut
Washington Mystics, June 23 vs. Los Angeles
Seattle Storm, June 28 vs. Los Angeles
Indiana Fever, July 1 vs. Atlanta
Note: Story updated to add information on the NWHL.