Columbus Crew and Chivas USA both win on their “Pride Nights”
Yesterday (July 24, 2011) was the gayest night in Major League Soccer history with both the Columbus Crew and Chivas USA (in Los Angeles) hosting “Pride Nights.” The support of the community put both clubs in the good graces of the soccer gods as each came out victorious, Columbus defeating the Portland Timbers 1-0 and Chivas USA beating the Houston Dynamo 3-0.
Outsports was one of the sponsors of the Chivas game and reported on the incredible visibility granted to the community at the game: “the Los Angeles Gay Men’s Chorus beautifully performed the national anthem; The It Gets Better Project was given a booth on the main concourse and they promoted their project all night long; And the cheerleaders performed their halftime routine to Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way.’”
Additionally, Chivas’ Justin Braun—who posed for the NOH8 campaign earlier this month—scored a hat trick! (NOH8 also was taking their iconic photos at a pre-game reception.)
See how supporting the gay community can be great for your career/team?
The Columbus Crew continued the theme as Eddie Gaven scored the game-winner in the 79th minute. I was fortunate to be at the game. A special thank you has to go out to Outlook Columbus and Innova Financial Group who helped make the event happen.
As I’ve written countless times in relation to these “Pride Nights,” if it’s only a means to sell tickets, I’m not that impressed. But when the teams embrace the theme and go beyond ticket sales, I am proud and thankful.
Chivas certainly did a wonderful job. The Crew also had the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus to sing the national anthem.
When they did, they made the announcement (it went something like this): “In celebration of Pride Night, to sing the national anthem, the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus.”
The song played over the speakers right before the 2nd half also happened to be Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” I don’t know if that was intentional for the night or whether it’s the sheer popularity of Gaga, but I appreciated it nonetheless.
My iPhone doesn’t exactly take the best photos, but these two show: (1) the chorus singing the anthem and (2) a group that were displaying the rainbow flag proudly on the opposite stands.
(I’ll keep an eye out for better photos taken by Outlook Columbus or others.)
I believe this makes Columbus the first city to have all of its professional teams host a “Pride Night” as the Clippers (Triple A minor league team) and the Blue Jackets have also done so. If anything, the Columbus teams are doing an excellent job of including and recognizing the gay community as an important part of the fan base. Now we just need the Buckeye to do something.