For Super Bowl 50, NFL courts LGBT businesses

By John Coté, San Francisco Chronicle

Published: Sunday, November 9, 2014

It’s not quite painting a rainbow on the logo for Super Bowl 50, but it’s a step in that direction.

The National Football League is showing a more inclusive side with its landmark 50th anniversary Super Bowl, which will be played at the 49er’s new Levi’s Stadium. The league and event organizers are set to announce Monday that, for the first time, the NFL will expand its outreach on contracting opportunities for the 2016 event to businesses owned by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

“I think it’s incredible history that’s being made right here in San Francisco, and what better place for it to happen?” said Robb Fleischer, president of the Golden Gate Business Association, the nation’s first LGBT chamber of commerce. “I think it sends a message nationwide.”

Super Bowl 50 will be played at the stadium in Santa Clara, but about 10 days of lead-up activities, including parties and the Super Bowl Village, will be in San Francisco, with its rich history of gay-rights activism.

The NFL’s move comes as a stream of court rulings have come down in favor of same-sex marriage and a week after Apple CEO Tim Cook, revealed he was gay.

The NFL already targets small businesses owned by minorities, women and disabled veterans in its effort to line up local vendors through its Business Connect program for the lead-up and production of the Super Bowl. Bay Area LGBT business owners were thrilled about being added to the list.

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