Before NYCFC kick off Saturday's match against the Seattle Sounders, our newest Pub Partner will open their doors to the community to kick off Pride Day festivities.
From 10a.m. to noon, Boxers NYC, the first gay sports bar to become an NYCFC Pub Partner, will host a Pride Day pre-game meet, complete with transportation to the match.
Over the years, Boxers has developed relationships with many of the LGBT sports leagues throughout the New York City area, including the Ramblers, NYC's first organized LGBT soccer league.
"Belonging to LGBT softball league ourselves," Boxers NYC's owners Bob Fluet and Rob Hynds told NYCFC, "We were playing golf one day and we decided we wanted to get in the bar business. We were looking to create a sports bar for the gay sports leagues."
And that's exactly what they've done. The bar supports nine LGBT sports leagues, and regularly hosts events for these and other groups.
Boxers' influence in the community has helped the bar carve out its own niche in the New York nightlife scene, and it's that same community that keeps them going strong.
How have they done it? Bob and Rob say: "By being an all inclusive welcoming bar. I love to see the variety of people that come into the door. Our clientele is a true reflection of the LGBT community.
"In addition, they bring in their families and straight friends and co-workers. It’s a beautiful thing to see. We have even had marriage ceremonies at Boxers."
Boxers knows the power of sports in building a community, and their presence aims to break down the barriers between the LGBT community and the NYC sports landscape. Their support helps groups like the Ramblers grow, and changes the conversation around LGBT representation in sports.
"We sponsor many NYC LGBT teams and leagues and it's a great way to support the gay community and LGBT sports leagues which need financial help," say the owners.
"It’s important to give visibility to LGBT sports fans and athletes because it helps destroy the stereotype that gay guys are not athletes or enjoy watching sports. As history has proven some of the best athletes in the world have been gay."
When NYCFC reached out to Boxers, the chance to take their place in the NYC sports community to the next level and continue their promotion of diversity and inclusion was one they couldn't pass up.
Fluet and Hynds told NYCFC.com: "It is a perfect example of the diversity in our clientele, so why not continue the diversity in our sponsorships as well. In addition, we have a huge amount of straight allies as customers, so it made sense all around in the name of diversity."
As for the future, Boxers has big plans for their relationship with NYCFC, and aim to change the landscape of the city through helping grow the beautiful game alongside the club.
"Our goal is to continue to expand locations and bring safe spaces in which everyone can come together and enjoy the spirit of competition in sports and just have a good time," they say.
"As for NYCFC, we appreciate the relationship and hope to be partners for years. Supporting each other creates unity in diversity."