Game day is no longer a weekly American holiday just for men. With its increasing female fan base, football is rapidly gaining equality among both genders. The female NFL audience has increased to 44% this year, and it’s expected that this number will only continue to go up.
Women, many long-time football fans, have become more active in recent years. Fantasy football leagues are commonplace since the competition was made possible online, and the number of female participants has grown steadily to its current level of 5.4 million. Many fantasy leagues are conducted exclusively by women and there is even a magazine, Audible, that is written by and for women football fans.
Such dedicated fandom has now caught the attention of a big name – the NFL – which has created multiple campaigns targeting women. The NFL is now directly marketing to its female audience with new lines of women’s NFL clothing and accessories as well as a partnership with the American Cancer Society to promote breast cancer screenings.
While selling more clothing and accessories to women is an obvious strategy, with $10 million in funding, the NFL is offering new styles of clothing that are actually fitted for a woman’s body. And demonstrating a long-term commitment to the merchandising needs of female fans, they have opened their first women’s-only retail store in New Orleans.
Although the NFL’s merchandise strategy is no longer simply “shrink it and pink it,” the NFL.com homepage was recently, in fact, pink. But for good reason – the NFL has partnered with the American Cancer Society to create “A Crucial Catch,” a campaign encourage and educate women on the importance of annual screenings as a method to help prevent breast cancer.
So while the NFL is making a profit from increasing women’s merchandise sales, they are not solely focused on going after pocketbooks. The NFL is making an effort and investment to prove they value their female fans, which will hopefully influence the efforts of their partners and advertisers for future seasons of the beloved sport.