Archive for July, 2010

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.