Marketing to Female Sports Fans: Apparel

Last week, I spoke about the untapped demographic of the female sports fan. Oftentimes, these fans are overlooked or misunderstood. The sports marketers who are able to appropriately research these fans and find out what they want will be able to leverage a much greater profit than those who are currently operating and creating apparel for them. Female fans are a large demographic that all major sports leagues and teams should be marketing to, whether it be for ticket sales or apparel. Most leagues now offer a women’s line of apparel, but is this the apparel that the female fans want to buy? Questions such as this should be asked by sport marketers to ensure a connection between the products being offered and what the female consumer wants to purchase.

The initial sports apparel line offered to women has commonly been described as “shrink it and pink it.” Most jerseys and shirts offered to women were made in a smaller size, which was a plus for the female fan, but the majority of the apparel offered was pink or bedazzled. In previous research conducted involving female fans, many of the women interviewed acknowledged that they would like apparel that fits a women’s body better, but that they were not interested in wearing pink. They noted that they wanted to wear the same apparel as the men, just fitted for a woman’s body.

The National Football League (NFL) has done a great job over the years of adjusting its women’s line to meet the needs of female fans. Originally, they were “shrink it and pink it” offenders, but the League has adjusted its line to now feature replica jerseys cut for a woman, as well as couture pieces and high fashion accessories. The changes to the line started during the 2010 season with the League’s “Fit For You” campaign. The women’s line was expanded the following season and has continued to grow its offerings. To help launch the women’s clothing line the League has used wives and family members of prominent members of the NFL, in addition to notable members of society, in advertisements and commercials for the women’s merchandise.

By providing women with merchandise made for them, the NFL saw a dramatic increase in sales. Sport marketers can use the NFL as an example of how focusing on what the female demographic is looking for can help enhance their revenue. Research (e.g. panel study, focus group, etc.) can and should be done by sport marketers to understand what female fans want. Being armed with this information will help ensure that you are providing merchandise that will sell and increase profits. Social Intelligence Research can enable you to do all of this online by aggregating social conversation, ensuring that you receive unsolicited, honest comments. This can enable your brand to uncover unmet needs and make data-driven decisions that will increase demand for your product–such as apparel for the female sports fan.

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