Minor League Baseball has announced the launch of MiLB Pride, the largest documented Pride celebration in professional sports, as part of its diversity and inclusion initiative. Nearly 70 MiLB teams will host Pride Nights or events this season.
MiLB Pride events will include teams holding LGBTQ-themed nights, incorporating Pride into scheduled promotions, providing discounted tickets to LGBTQ organizations, and/or engaging with the LGBTQ community both in the ballpark and beyond. Additionally, some teams are giving back to their local communities by donating a portion of ticket sales to LGBTQ non-profit organizations in their area.
MiLB Pride was created in response to the growing number of MiLB teams’ Pride events and a desire to further conversations about LGBTQ inclusion throughout baseball. Designed to reinforce MiLB’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and to provide a safe environment for all fans, the national initiative is prioritizing learning opportunities for its teams and fans. MiLB is arranging educational workshops, networking opportunities and social events — all designed to connect with the LGBTQ community and support the creation of a welcoming environment for LGBTQ fans, employees and partners in MiLB ballparks.
“Sports can bring people together and help transcend differences. MiLB Pride is putting the power of sports into action and building bridges to the LGBTQ community that didn’t previously exist,” said Vincent Pierson, director of diversity and inclusion for Minor League Baseball. “Launching this program is a proud moment for the game of baseball and we look forward to building on this in the future.”
The national platform includes teams forming partnerships with more than 150 local LGBTQ organizations across the country, making for authentic and genuine connections. Those alignments include MiLB’s national partnerships with You Can Play – an organization that advocates for equality and respect for all who connect with sports, regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender identity – and Pride Tape, “a badge of support from teammates, coaches, parents and pros to young LGBTQ players and fans.”
“You Can Play is grateful to be partnering with Minor League Baseball as it continues to serve as a model for diversity and inclusion,” said Brian Kitts, president of You Can Play. “We share a commitment to growing a great sport by making locker rooms and stadiums safe for every baseball player and fan, including those in the LGBTQ community”
MiLB Pride is the latest initiative to join Minor League Baseball’s other established Diversity Initiative programs including Copa de la Diversión (Fun Cup), Women in Baseball and the FIELD Program, among others. In 2009, MiLB laid the foundation for a comprehensive initiative designed to diversify the industry by addressing racial and gender diversity within ownership groups, executive management teams, employment and more.