Adidas to Sponsor World OutGames in Miami
by John Kell

German sportswear maker Adidas will sponsor the World OutGames,
a LGBT-focused sporting and human rights event that will be held in
Miami later this spring.

The World OutGames—which first held an event in Montreal back in
2006—is a 10-day affair that draws athletes from more than 40
nations to participate in swimming, track and field, soccer, and other
sporting events. It also hosts conferences that focus on human rights
initiatives. "Besides the fact that Adidas is a significant player in the
sports industry, [the sponsorship] also brings the recognition of a
global entity," said World OutGames CEO Ivan Cano. "Sports are
sports. They don't discriminate."

The relationship between Adidas and the World OutGames—which
the parties are describing as more a collaborative partnership rather
than a strict sponsorship—is one of several moves that Adidas has
made to promote outreach to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender) community.

For example, just a few years ago, Adidas started selling a so-called "pride pack"
—t-shirts, tank tops, and shoes that feature rainbow colors, representing the
symbol that is closely associated with the LBGT community. Those shoes and
apparel are often sold during the month of June, when many cities across the
United States host their Pride Month events. Adidas is also among the major
corporations to receive a perfect score for the Human Rights Campaign’s
Corporate Equality Index, which recognizes corporations that adopt inclusive
policies for that community.

Adidas North American President Mark King tells Fortune that the work Adidas is doing to reach out to this community makes sense for a few
reasons. "First and foremost, it is a sports activity. And we are in the business of sport," King said. "Second, I think the more we develop as a
company, not just as a brand, the value placed on diversity and inclusion has become more and more important. We understand the world is
about diversity."

I asked King if Adidas was concerned about any potential risks with the partnership—especially in a world where social media can make
anyone a critic. The brand could potentially see some pushback from those that don't support the LGBT community.

In the run up to the 2016 presidential election and the months after President Donald Trump won, several companies have found themselves
the targets of social-media driven protests for statements or corporate decisions that would have generated little fanfare in years past. Coffee
giant Starbucks (SBUX, +0.54%) is a perennial target of these campaigns. And sportswear peer Under Armour (UAA, +0.03%) also found
itself in a pickle after CEO and founder Kevin Plank expressed enthusiasm for President Trump's pro-business stances.

King says he and the team at Adidas weren't dissuaded by that trend. "I don't think we are really worried about it. Companies have to have
values," King said. "But one big driving force for us as a company is diversity. When you have diversity, everyone needs to feel included." He
added the pact with World OutGames is one critical way to show that and has less to do with marketing and more about how Adidas views
itself as a company. Miami will host the World OutGames from May 26 through June 4.



World OutGames Miami 2017, a significant 10-day global event merging three significant pillars of Sports, Culture and Human Rights, will
present a vibrant series of cultural activations throughout Miami that will serve as a powerful celebration of the area’s diverse arts community.
PULSE POINTS and several other memorable events and activities will offer a captivating mix of dance, film, music, poetry, and visual arts.  

“World OutGames Miami’s cultural offerings play an important role in this global gathering by sending an impactful message of compassion,
hope and love through a harmony of artistic events and performances by over 200 artists,” said World OutGames Miami Director of Cultural
Arts Carol Coombes. “We are excited to welcome participants from more than 40 countries plus all of South Florida to embrace the series of
events we have created as a significant step towards unity and inclusiveness for all.”

PULSE POINTS, an artistic response to the Orlando massacre at Pulse Nightclub, will take center stage as one of the several cultural events
planned to inspire, motivate and engage World OutGames participants and the community at large. This experiential memorial will
dramatically exhibit 49 artistic expressions through performance and visual arts in remembrance of the 49 lives lost one year ago.

For history buffs and beyond, there will be programs such as Jewels of Downtown Miami, Icons of the Bay: Stiltsville and Cape Florida
Lighthouse, Wynwood Arts District: Inside & Out, Preservation Under the Rainbow and the Gay & Lesbian Walking Tour Miami Beach. Music
and dance lovers will delight in It Takes a Village, People tribute show, a cardio pumping ARTworkOUT class at PAMM and Dance NOW!
Miami Presents OUT featuring the Joffrey Ballet's "Lacrymosa". Poetry fans will be exposed to the works of famous poets during a reading
session at the Favorite Poem Project World OutGames.

Art enthusiasts will enjoy The Colors of Miami Beach, featuring works of art by Leonard Horowitz, Decio Sales-Filho, Will McGaul and the
Invisible exhibition by Vladimir Rios and Lester Blum. Sports and art fans alike can take part in a public art tour at Marlins Park, followed by a
home game during Home Run for the Arts. Film mavens can venture to a special showing of the Life of Pi presented by the Soundscape
Cinema Series, plus a roster of three other films. The cultural programming will also include a spellbinding podcast at Sex and the Sea
aboard the Georg Stage Danish ship.

From May 26 - June 4, 2017, World OutGames Miami will also offer a plethora
of sporting events and a powerful gathering of internationally respected human
rights activists, researchers, legal scholars and trade organizations at the Human
Rights Conference.

Athletes with skill levels ranging from beginner to competitive, will arrive at World
OutGames Miami ready to challenge themselves physically in a variety of sports
held at world class venues across Miami-Dade County.

The 4th Global LGBTQI Human Rights Conference, a three-day event (May 26-
29) held at the Miami Beach Convention Center, will offer a world view of human
rights with representation from Brazil, Cuba, Canada, Miccosukee Reservation,
St. Lucia, Thailand, Tonga, Uganda, the United Kingdom, the United States,
Venezuela and others.

World OutGames Miami is made possible through the support of adidas, the City of Miami Beach, Florida Sports Foundation, Miami Beach
Visitor and Convention Authority, Coca-Cola, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, Bacardi, Happy Copenhagen, Arts & Business
Council of Miami, Miami Design Preservation League & the Art Deco Museum, The Poetry Foundation, the International Institute on Race,
Equality and Human Rights, Miami Sports, Hotspots Media Group, OutClique, South Florida Gay News, 93.9 MIA and additional contributions
from many individuals and businesses. World OutGames Miami is funded in part by a grant from the City of Miami Beach, along with the
support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of
County Commissioners.

Tickets are available for purchase at:

About World OutGames
World OutGames is a multi-sport and cultural event licensed by the Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association (GLISA). Every four years,
World OutGames brings together athletes from all over the world for a celebration of sport, culture and human rights, many from countries
where homosexuality remains illegal and hidden. Previously hosted in Montreal, Copenhagen and Antwerp, World OutGames is open to all
who wish to participate, without regard to sexual orientation. There are no qualifying standards, although competitions are arranged according
to the skill levels of the competitors. For more information about World OutGames, visit, www.facebook.
com/OutGamesMiami, and

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