SBD/October 25, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Openly Gay Boxer Orlando Cruz Fielding Endorsement Calls Since Coming Out

Cruz says he is "very, very happy" since his coming out earlier this month
Orlando Cruz earlier this month became what is believed to be the first active boxer to announce that he is gay, and sponsors have since "come calling," according to HBO’s Jon Frankel. Cruz said before his announcement he did not “have any sponsors” but now he is fielding calls from interested companies. Cruz did not mention any of the potential sponsors he has heard from, but he said, “I am very, very happy. I am free.” OutSports.com co-Founder Cyd Zeigler said, “We talked to fans, people in the media, professional athletes, Fortune 500 companies -- across the board they say they will support an openly gay player.” Frankel noted leagues are “starting to spread messages of tolerance,” and star athletes are “speaking out for gay rights.” Following the report, HBO’s Bryant Gumbel asked Frankel, “Just as Orlando Cruz realized sponsorships after he came out, might the first (openly gay team sport athlete) get a windfall?” Frankel: “I think that is the feeling. The folks that we spoke to have directly spoken to the folks at Nike -- prominent company -- and other companies and they say they are really prepared to embrace an athlete. Of course, it’s got to be the right person, and what that means I don’t know. But everybody thinks this could be a real marketing bonanza” (“Real Sports,” HBO, 10/23).
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