June is a month for many things – including: Caribbean-American Heritage Month, African American Music Appreciation Month, National Oceans Month, and Great Outdoors Month. June also is recognized as LGBT Pride Month, with many cities hosting parades and other celebrations. MLB is slowly jumping on the bandwagon. In fact, both the Red Sox and the Dodgers are hosting Pride Night tonight.
The Washington Nationals have been advertising their June 14 “Night OUT” event on their scoreboard during games. However, it may not always be easy to determine which teams are hosting LGBT events. Occasionally pride nights are listed under “Promotions and Giveaways” on team websites, but more often you have to search for them under “Tickets” as group tickets, special events, or theme nights. In a few cases, no mention is made on the team website, but on the website of a sponsoring organization. In all cases, any promotional giveaway is obtained only through the purchase of a special ticket.
Nonetheless, more teams are recognizing this important component of their fan base. For example, this year, the Mets will be the first major New York sports team to host an LGBT event. The Phillies, too, are sponsoring their inaugural Pride Night. While similar events were held at both teams’ stadiums last year, they were not sponsored directly by the team like they are this year. In addition, earlier this year MLB announced a new partnership with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, which would provide opportunities for LGBT businesses to bid for MLB contracts and other opportunities.
Both this year and last year, there have been issues and controversies surrounding LGBT events at MLB ballparks and not all teams have sought out the LGBT fan base. However, below is the list of 2016 events that I was able to find by searching team websites and other internet sites:
|Date||Team||Event||Ticket Info and Sponsors|
|May 21||Padres||Pride Night||The first 2,500 fans to purchase special ticket package received a limited edition Padres Pride Night Rally Towel. Tickets available at three price levels, one of which includes a pregame buffet. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to San Diego Pride.|
|June 3||Red Sox||Pride Night||Special ticket package includes Red Sox Pride Flag; VIP package includes pregame meet and greet with Billy Bean; proceeds to benefit Boston Pride.|
|June 3||Dodgers||LGBT Night||Special ticket package includes exclusive Dodgers LGBT Night t-shirt.|
|June 7||Tigers||Pride Night Detroit||Special tickets had to be purchased through chamber website (deadline was 5/31). Sponsored by the Regional LGBT Chamber of Commerce.|
|June 10||Braves||LGBT Night||Special ticket package includes pregame patio event with live music from the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus, a special Braves hat, and $5 donation to Lost-n-Found Youth.|
|June 14||A’s||Pride Night||Special ticket package includes Oakland A’s Pride rainbow headband and pregame party. Partial proceeds benefit local LGBT non-profits: AIDS Project East Bay, Our Space, and Rainbow Community Center. Sponsored by Wells Fargo.|
|June 14||Nationals||Night Out||$7 of each ticket purchased through special events ticket page will benefit Team DC’s scholarship fund.|
|June 17||Rays||Pride Night||Special ticket package includes t-shirt.|
|June 24||Giants||LGBT Night||Special ticket package includes access to the LGBT Night pregame party in Seals Plaza and a limited-edition LGBT/Giants trucker hat. Partial proceeds from each special event ticket will be donated to local non-profits in the LGBT community. Community Partners: Team SF, Federation of Gay Games, San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, San Francisco Pride, and Horizons Foundation|
|July 9||White Sox||Out at the Sox||Tickets must be purchased through Equality Illinois, a higher ticket package rate includes pregame events. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the event sponsor Equality Illinois.|
|Aug 13||Mets||Pride Night||A portion of each ticket sold through the special offer will benefit the LGBT Network and its Safe Schools Initiative to stop bullying in Long Island and Queens.|
|Aug 19||Mariners||LGBT Night||Special ticket package includes t-shirt and pregame event (with light food and beverage). Sponsored by the Greater Seattle Business Association.|
|Aug 29||Phillies||Pride Night||First 500 people to purchase tickets through the promotion will receive a limited edition Phillies Pride-themed giveaway.|