Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

ESPNW – Good idea?

Monday, January 10th, 2011

espnwlogoI have read numerous articles on the pros and cons of ESPNW. As an advocate for women in business, sports, academia and life, it would seem like a win-win. But is it?

The original idea was to promote women athletes with articles by women sports writers to women fans. One article I read said the site featured tailgate party recipes and pink apparel for women. When I went to the site, I didn’t find either. If they had it, they have made bball11adjustments. The stories were about all the weekend sports and didn’t seem to favor women’s sports or athletes.

Which then raises the question, who is there market and how is it different from the ESPN audience?

They have links to several ESPN.com stories prominently displayed. However, it is difficult to find the link to ESPNW on the ESPN site. It is there if you keep looking.

track1Since the site is relatively new, I think I’ll just continue to watch it evolve and see what they do with it. It’s nice for the media to consider women athletes and fans as an important market segment, but are they capturing more new women than the numbers they are alienating?

What’s your opinion about ESPNW.com?

Family Fun at the Brahmas Game

Monday, November 8th, 2010

hockey1This past weekend, my husband, daughter, son-in-law, granddaughter and I went to a Brahmas Hockey Game. The Texas Brahmas, one of 18 teams that belong to the Central Hockey League, is a minor league team based in North Richland Hills, Texas.

The evening was entertaining and exciting with lots of action. The intimate size facilitybrahmas_hockeylogo1 versus the colossal Cowboy Stadium makes fans feel a part of the action. And, of course, ticket prices, concessions and parking was much more family affordable.

With activities for the kids, and interactive traditions, such as throwing mini-brahma bulls on the ice after a goal, it was experiential as well. While you need to bundle up as the arena is cold, the atmosphere is warm and inviting and a wonderful way to spend an evening with family and friends.

Why Not Highlight Sports Wives?

Monday, November 1st, 2010

people2Wives and families are a critical part of any professional athlete’s life. Yesterday I watched a show called Football Wives on TV. I thought it would provide viewers with interesting insights into the players, their wives, children and lifestyle. After all, we all know women are more relationship oriented. To know a little more about the players would only enhance a female fan’s enjoyment of the sport.

Admittedly, I only watched part of one segment, so they may have had something interesting on that I missed. However, it was more like the “Real Housewives” bickering and innatepeople1 conversation, than what I expected. Hence the fact I only watched one segment of the 30-minute program.

Sports teams are really missing out on an opportunity to connect at a deeper level with their female fans. Women’s interest in sports is probably at an all time high. In my case, we have the Texas Rangers playing in the World Series and making history. And, of course, the Dallas Cowboys. The Mavericks, Stars, and many minor league teams in the area are outstanding and provide family entertainment at reasonable prices.

team1Television, which counts on the number of people watching to generate advertising revenue, really could produce a good preshow occasionally, that focused more on the player and his life, than repeating the same thing week after week about “going out and giving his all,” “playing as a team” and “stepping up to the plate.”

Minor Leagues Can Be Major Family Fun

Monday, August 16th, 2010

soccer1Sports are a booming business right now. When you live in Texas, people are really into sports—from high school football games to the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers and Mavericks. But it is difficult for many families to afford tickets to pro games. A fun, less expensive alternative are minor/expansion teams. The Frisco Roughriders and the Fort Worth Cats (baseball) have great attendance. They are fun, affordable and a great family outing. The Texas Brahams (hockey) and the FC Dallas (soccer) are available if you want something besides baseball, basketball or football.

There are 96 minor league games being played today in a variety of different sports. Check out the family-friendly promotional packages your home team offers, and enjoy the smaller, more intimate atmosphere. Those are some of the reason minor league games attract women and their families.

Have you been to one? What did you enjoy most?

Praising Football Hero from a Female Fan

Monday, August 9th, 2010

emmithalloffameAs football season kicks off with the preseason games, cooler weather is hopefully not too far behind. One of the big football events this weekend was watching Emmitt Smith being inducted into the Hall of Fame. I’m proud to be a Dallas native and Cowboys fan. He personifies the essence of what sport personalities should be—a give-it-his-all-player, a responsible citizen and a contributor to many worthwhile charities, with both his time and dollars.

As a woman, I’m always delighted when sports heroes are great role models. Today, unfortunately, they are too rare. Scandals plaque players who often put instant gratification or let poor judgment cloud their playing and potentially shiny legacy.

emmitsmithjerseyOf course Emmitt isn’t the only responsible football player, but he is the latest to receive this honor as a Cowboy. As I watch this season unfold, I’ll be looking for the next role model and hope the NFL continues to provide solid male figures with good lessons to teach, rather than the opposite.emmitsmith1

Congratulations Emmitt and all the worthwhile honorees in the Football Hall of Fame, and to the many others who don’t have this distinction, but are excellent mentors and examples to our future leaders.

What is NASCAR’s Appeal to Women?

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

nascar1Women like the sport, because they can relate to the drivers, enjoy the speed and thrill of the track and appreciate the family-oriented environment of the team and drivers.

“The drivers themselves are a key factor in our success with our female fan base,” said Steve Phelps, marketing chief for NASCAR, National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing. “Our drivers are seen as courageous, heroic, down-to-Earth; they’re regular guys and our female fan base certainly identifies with that.”

Often NASCAR enthusiasts choose a favorite driver, wear their colors and wait in line to meet them in person prior to the race. This personal relationship is important to all fans, but especially to women.

“Per capita, they’re among the highest earning sports fans across the board in America,” Jeff MacGregor said. “They earn well. They spend well. They buy a lot anascar2 stuff. The average NASCAR fan spends over $800 a year on NASCAR items.” NASCAR has become a promotional Mecca for a large number of Fortune 500 companies and customers of both sexes. In the past, cars and teams sported automotive products, including motor oil. Today, race cars feature logos for breakfast cereal, dog food and cake mix. NASCAR estimates that 40 percent of its fan base, which spent $1 billion last year on official merchandise, is women.

nascar3Its licensing deal with Harlequin Enterprises Ltd., the world’s top publisher of romance and other fiction targeted to women, is meant to market to the female demographic and draw in new fans, says spokesman Andrew Giangola. Marleah Stout, spokeswoman for the Canada-based Harlequin, says sales of the series of NASCAR-themed books are brisk, selling millions of copies.
It will be interesting to see how NASCAR continues to grow their female fan base. A couple of new promotions might be something for them to consider.

Female Football Fans Numbers Continue to Increase

Monday, July 26th, 2010

football71According to the NFL, 375,000 women attend games each week and more than 45 million watch NFL games on TV weekly. As more women become fans of the sport, individual teams prosper, the NFL flourishes and the network/cable coverage attracts more diversity in their sponsors.

NFL is reaching out with some ads specifically targeting female viewers. Additionally, teams are offering a variety of events from Football 101 to instructional seminars that explain everything from strategies to football history, helping to convert casual viewers to loyal fans. Eighteen teams participate in the Football 101 program, and more than 10,000 women attend annually.

Football also has other things that make it attractive to women, sports football61experts say. The season is short, the number of games few, so it doesn’t involve the same time commitment as baseball. It’s also possible to understand the play without becoming a master of statistics.
Several teams have developed successful programs to boost their female support. Teams that want to grow their fan base, get more people to games or sell more merchandise, understand that reaching out to women makes good business sense.

group11According to several sources, including NBC Sports, the Pittsburgh Steelers have the largest female fan base in professional football. A third of Pittsburgh-area women consider themselves fans. The Steelers sold out a Ladies Night Out event they held that included a prime rib dinner and a tour of Heinz Field.

Many teams realize the need to connect with women more than a decade ago. In 2003, in an attempt to attract women, the Ravens formed Purple, a club which is free to women interested in joining, along with a higher-level club, the Lavender Ladies, which costs $250. In 2005, the Ravens added a ladies festival where women could come to the stadium, meet players, go on the field and talk to coaches. In the women’s merchandise section of the NFL’s website, the Ravens have more than 9o different items. Female fans buy about $150 million in merchandisefootball5 each year.

As more teams realize the economic clout and interest of women in the sport of football, more and more programs will be designed to appeal to this growing, untapped and very lucrative market.

Baseball Woos Women

Monday, July 19th, 2010

ball11Female fans make up more than 45 percent of MLB fans, more than any other professional sport. They buy tickets, merchandise and snacks at the game kiosks. They know player stats, understand the rules and nuances of baseball and encourage other women to get involved in the game.

The Minnesota Twins began a tradition to attract women a few years back. The Herberger’s Wine, Women and Baseball Night co-sponsored by local radio and TV stations, was held at the Metrodome prior to a regularly scheduled game. Exclusively for women, a ticket to the event cost $35 and included entrance to pregame female festivities in the Tailgate Tent. Events integrated wine-tasting, ball31appetizers and desserts, “Pamper Yourself” stations featuring makeovers, manicures, massages, a complimentary gift and visits by special on-air guests.

The LA Dodgers have invited women to unroll their yoga mats on the outfield, knit in Stitch n’ Pitch nights and has special Wednesday broadcast with online play-by-play especially for women. This is part of the Dodgers Women’s Initiative Network(WIN), created by former CEO Jamie McCourt.

For several seasons, the Atlanta Braves and Publix (a local grocer) have teamed up to host Baseball 101 clinics. At the FUNdamentals of Baseball experience, the Brave players teach hitting, fielding and pitching skills, as well as a panel discussion on various topics of interest to baseball fans, new and old. The event includes a tour, luncheon, two tickets to the game, a t-shirt and a gift bag with autographed items.ball22

In 2009, the Philadelphia Phillies scheduled their first of their two annually held Baseball 101 clinics for women. The cost for the full-day clinic and game is $175 and is limited to the first 120 women who register. It usually sells out quickly and has a long waiting list. It features everything from interactive on-field clinics taught by Phillies coaches to a Q&A session with a player and a team executive to a patio game watching party.

What’s Wrong with These Sports’ Pictures? Hint: No Women

Monday, January 11th, 2010

fan1When I was looking for depictions of sports fans online, the majority looked like the graphics in today’s blog. While men are great sports fans and should be appreciated as such, they are not the growth market that women are. Without marketing to and interesting women in your sport, more and more stands will host minimal rather than maximum crowds.

Pro sports teams must aggressively and correctly seek out female fans. They need to attract them, retain them, involve them and get them to invite their networks to be a part of this great creditcard1American tradition. It puzzles me why this hasn’t been pursued more intensely by sports marketers, team marketers and general managers.

Women equate to dollars. They buy tickets, concessions and lots of merchandise. Sports aren’t and shouldn’t be thought of as a male bastion. Women enjoy watching the competitiveness and skill of players even if they do appreciate things differently than their male friends, colleagues and spouses.

Rather you are attracting viewers at home or in person, make sure your marketing includes women. fan2Where you place ads, how they look and read and what you do at events, tells women where they stand. If you want to continue growing your fan base and profits, it is essential to make sure the major consumer knows she is important.

Questions Professional Sports Marketers Should Be Asking

Monday, January 4th, 2010

basketball21What should professional sports teams be doing to attract more women? A lot. They are the growth market and an important component for the future of many sports.

Women are relationship-oriented. They want to know about players both on and off the field. Is he married? Does he have kids? What does he do in the off season? What charities does he support? Is he involved in politics or business ventures? What other sports or hobbies does he like?

Women are educational and informational-oriented. Do you have classes or events that will involve and educate women? Are your players, coaches and key personnel part of the functions? How are you positioning them? What type of invitations are you using?baseball2

Women are family-oriented. How does your team influence kids? Are the players good role models? Are they active in teen activities nationally or in their community? Do they support kids? sports? clinics?

Women look at a sport?s sponsor base as well. Are your advertisers letting women know they view them as part of the spectator base by providing commercials that appeal to both genders, not just one?

Teams that succeed with women have women initiatives. Do you have a program in place or are your women?s initiatives a hit and miss situation? Are discounts for merchandise and games available to women who participate in other team-related activities?

car1Whether you are involved in racing, golf, basketball or soccer, women should be an important part of your marketing mix. Make sure your marketing dollars are spent to attract them. The dividend on your investment will be amazing.