When veteran NBA player Jason Collins announced that he was
gay, the first active professional basketball player to do so, it made
headlines around the world—not just on the sports pages, but on many newspapers,
websites and newscasts.
A short time later, Brittney Griner, arguably the best
women's college basketball player in the country, announced shortly after she
was drafted by the Phoenix Mercury to play in the WNBA that she was gay.
A new report by Nielsen states, "More and more professional
athletes are taking the courageous step to come out, publicly highlighting the
connection between sports and the gay and lesbian community in important and
The report, titled "Major League: Gay and Lesbian Internet
Users Are Avid Sports Fans," says gay and lesbian consumers are "in many ways...bigger
aficionados than average fans."
The report points out that adult gay and lesbian Internet
users are 11% more likely than the average adult to attend pro sports events,
and they are 7% more likely to participate in an adults sports league.
Gay and lesbian adults are also 51% more likely than the
average adult to watch sports-related videos online and 28% more likely to
search for sports news via their computers. They are also 39% more likely to
play fantasy sports online, and 19% more likely to purchase a sporting event
A Nielsen analysis of the top U.S. sports Internet sites
also found during the first quarter of 2013 a higher concentration of gay and
lesbian visitors compared to the overall gay and lesbian online
SB Nation had more than double the gay and lesbian visitors than
the online average. MLB.com over-indexed on gay and lesbian visitors by 73%,
Bleacher Report by 69%, CBS Sports by 65% and Big Lead Sports by FSV Network by
52%. Other sites over-indexing on the volume of gay and lesbian visitors were
Sports Illustrated (by 51%), FoxSports.com on MSN (by 45%), Yahoo Sports
websites (by 34%) and NFL Internet Network (by 18%).
These numbers mean a great opportunity for sports marketers
who want to reach this avid sports fan base. "Besides being sports and
online-savvy, gay and lesbian consumers also wield tremendous buying power,"
the report states. "Advertisers, retailers and publishers should recognize this
value and seize the opportunity to engage this growing and influence audience."
Nielsen released an earlier report documenting the spending
power of the gay and lesbian community in general. The report found that on any
given shopping trip, same-sex-partnered households spend at comparable rates to
the average U.S. household. Actually, it was a bit higher with an average $50
per shopping trip vs. an average $46 per trip by all U.S. households. The study
also founded that same-sex partnered households also make 16% more shopping
trips than the average U.S. household during a 52-week period -- 173 averaging
shopping trips compared to 149.
The average spending on consumer packaged goods per year by
same-sex partnered households is $8,651, 25% higher than the average $6,898
spent by the average U.S. household.
Male same-sex partnered households shop at a higher
frequency than female same-sex households - 182 trips vs. 163 trips -- and
spend more -- $8,943, about 30% higher than the average U.S. household.
"The buying power of same-sex partnered households is
significant when compared to the average U.S. household, which offers considerable
opportunities to manufacturers and retailers that are able to satisfy the need
states of these consumers," the report says.