New York • Amid a surge of public opinion in favor of gay rights in the U.S., the WNBA is launching a campaign to market the league to the LGBT community, becoming the first pro sports league to specifically recruit gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender fans to its games.
With the marketing campaign, the WNBA is capitalizing on what it has known for years: The community makes up a significant portion of its fan base. The difference now is that the league is talking about it publicly and making it a deliberate part of its marketing strategy.
The campaign, which begins with the debut of a website Wednesday, includes having teams participate in local pride festivals and parades, working with advocacy groups to raise awareness of inclusion through grassroots events and advertising with lesbian media. A nationally televised pride game will take place between Tulsa and Chicago on Sunday, June 22. All 12 teams will also have some sort of pride initiative over the course of the season.
Sacramento Kings to build new arena
Sacramento, Calif. • Mayor Kevin Johnson led the City Council in approving a $477 million arena for the Kings NBA franchise late Tuesday and immediately hailed the project for raising the city’s profile.
The council voted 7-2 on the package during a late-night meeting that caps off Sacramento’s yearlong tussle to keep the team from moving to Seattle.
Construction on the crown-shaped sports facility will break ground this summer and open in time for the 2016-17 season.
Stephenson fined $5,000 for flopping
The NBA has fined Indiana’s Lance Stephenson $5,000 for flopping in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Stephenson was chasing Miami’s LeBron James as James dribbled up the court in the third quarter of Tuesday’s game. Stephenson lightly bumped into James, then fell backward to the court as if it had been a real collision.
Stephenson was also fined in last year’s series against the Heat, the first year the NBA began penalizing players for the act of exaggerating contact to fool referees into calling fouls.
Combined wire reports
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