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The NBA is teaming up with LGBTI entrepreneurs

NBA: 'We see ourselves as being an icon for social change, achieving equality and acceptance’

The NBA is teaming up with LGBTI entrepreneurs

The NBA is teaming up with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) to create more opportunities for LGBTI business owners.

The NGLCC has already worked with the NFL for Super Bowls 50 and 51, as well as the Major League Baseball, the Professional Golf Association, and the United States National Tennis Association.

These partnerships help LGBTI-run businesses bid on contracts to work at major sporting events. For companies officially certified by the NGLCC, this could mean a great deal.

Texas-based catering company Jim Benton of Houston, for instance, became certified by the NGLCC right before Super Bowl 51 earlier this year. Because of this, the business was able to be one of the 40 caterers at the NFL’s official Super Bowl tailgate party, which roughly 10,000 people attended.

‘Corporate America does have a responsibility with [helping] keep rights for every body,’ Jeff Henningsen, who runs the catering company with his husband, tells CNBC. ‘If it weren’t for the grassroots activities of groups like the NGLCC, it would be a harder road to go down.’

On top of becoming more inclusive, to have major sports leagues partner with NGLCC businesses helps open the door to more revenue for all parties involved.

‘The NBA is recognizing that it’s not only the right thing to do but it’s smart business,’ Justin Nelson, the president of the NGLCC, tells CNBC. ‘There’s a market there and there are potential businesses to drive attendance and to better manage production of everything that goes into the season and the teams.’

‘And, frankly, in the interest of what we’re doing could be more profitable and there’s nothing wrong with being more profitable,’ Nelson adds. ‘Diversity also means diversifying the revenue stream.’

Oris Stuart, chief diversity and inclusion officer for the NBA, says, ‘We’re really proud of our record as a leader in diversity and inclusion particularly among sports leagues. We see ourselves as being an icon for social change, achieving equality and acceptance.’

What are your thoughts on the NBA’s new deal with the NGLCC?

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