Marketing Football to Women: A Winning Strategy!

For marketers, football is almost as important as the holiday season.  The all round appeal to both men and women has made football one of the most efficient delivery vehicles for marketing messages.  Instead of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Football Holidays are the start of the season, the big game match-ups like the Manning Brothers Bowl, Alabama v. Anybody, the BCS and of course, the Super Bowl.

Part of the allure is the real time benefit of live sports.  According to Tor Myren, president and chief creative officer at the Grey New York division, “It’s one of the few things America watches in real time, together and, as a result, the airtime is very valuable.”

Super Bowl cocktail party fact:  Fox has already sold  85 to 90 percent of the commercial inventory for the 2014 Super Bowl, at a price of $4 million for every 30-second spot.  Because of the major investment in television, the brands are extending their reach with social media, ala the famous Oreo blackout tweet.

More women (50.4 million) tuned into last year’s Super Bowl than watched the Oscars (24.5 million), Grammys (23.8 million) and Emmys (8 million), according to Nielsen. The Super Bowl’s female audience has more than doubled from only five years ago, and the last three Super Bowl broadcasts have set records for being the most-watched shows by female viewers.

Female football fan fact:  If you are marketing to women, listen up.  The NFL counts 185 million Americans as fans (60% of the US population) and 45% of those are women.  About half of all fans are either avid or casual.  Among avid fans, women compose one-third of fans, and are a slight majority of casual fans.  (And this doesn’t include college football!)

For women, Marie Claire had an extra 16 page NFL insert in their September issue titled “The Savvy Girl’s Guide to Football.”  There were five full-page ads for women’s apparel from the NFL’s Women’s collection, fashion tips, recipes and some football terminology.  The insert was just one part of the NFL campaign that included print advertising, television and pop-up clothing boutiques at stadiums.  The new apparel is not based on the traditional “pink it and shrink it”  approach, but rather on jerseys cut for women and accessories made for women.  Is it working?  The sales of women’s apparel has tripled in the past four years.

Click here for this year’s NFL fashion show.

Tailgating is also a female sport with approximately $20 billion estimated to be spent at sports and non-sports events this season.

There is also another new term – “homegating” – which refers to all the entertaining merchandise needed for the Saturdays and Sundays at home watching games with friends and family.  And of course, that customer is also female.

So if you think football, remember it’s not just a men’s event anymore.

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