Women's World Cup Showed How Safety Guardrails Cost Brands Valuable Audiences


For 30 glorious days each year, brands in every category reach out to LGBTQ+ consumers and say, "We see you (and your wallets)." By July, the media and marketing industries have usually abandoned their rainbow-tinted Pride goggles. This year though, the LGBTQ+ community was gifted a brief, unofficial encore, courtesy of the United States Women’s National Soccer Team.


This unstoppable force—led by audacious, political, out co-captain Megan Rapinoe—captured the attention of a global audience on the way to their fourth consecutive World Cup win and beyond. It was the feel-good story of the year, particularly for LGBTQ women and sports fans, because Rapinoe and five other USWNT players are among the 42 out players in the league.

The media’s unequivocal embrace has rewarded digital publishers with a page-view bump for their sports sections. Deadspin’s viral headline, “Purple-haired lesbian goddess flattens France like a crepe,” garnered 578,200 page views alone. But brands using keyword blocking to avoid terms like “gay,” “lesbian,” “queer,” or “LGBTQ+” are missing out on all those enthusiastic eyeballs.