Together, we can take the message of Rainbow Laces to sports fans and show the benefits of inclusion.

Changing the game posted on 23 Nov

Together, we can take the message of Rainbow Laces to sports fans and show the benefits of inclusion.

Sky Careers

We hear from Steve Smith, Director of Content and Production, Sky Sports as #RainbowLaces week kicks off today. 

While watching Sky Sports for the next ten days, and when browsing our social accounts and website, you’ll notice a little extra colour around the edges. We’re introducing rainbow strips and special idents to again mark our support for the Rainbow Laces campaign’s annual November activation.It’s an occasion in the calendar where we can join with governing bodies, clubs and other organisations to show a united front against discrimination and help ‘make sport everyone’s game’.

The focus of Rainbow Laces is inclusion in sport for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. In the UK, that’s an estimated 7% of the population - around 4.5m people - and Sky Sports is able to reach many more individuals globally through our output.

Although there’s been significant progress since the Rainbow Laces campaign began in 2013, there are still substantial barriers which often make LGBT people feel unwelcome and uncomfortable whether playing, watching or working in sport.

ICM research conducted for Stonewall, the charity that runs the campaign, found that 72% of football fans had heard homophobic abuse while watching live sport in the last six years.

Stigmas still stop many gay and bi men from feeling able to be themselves in sport, while old stereotypes can discourage women and girls from playing certain sports. When you’re trans, just participating in sport can be a hugely daunting prospect.

We are putting even more weight behind our support for Rainbow Laces this year to tackle the issues surrounding anti-LGBT language and behaviour. As a leading sports broadcaster with millions of customers and a digital reach of more than 30 million people a month, we can take the message of Rainbow Laces to sports fans and show the benefits of inclusion.

A year ago, when Sky Sports joined TeamPride – a group of businesses and organisations that support Rainbow Laces – I wrote of our long-term commitment to tackling the issue of homophobia in sport. This month’s activity, which also includes a new series of ‘My Icon’ films as well as detailed coverage on Sky Sports News, is an important part of that pledge.

But of course, Rainbow Laces isn’t just for November. We’re engaging our audiences on equality and diversity all year round with the target of ensuring no one feels left on the sidelines.