How the NFL Woos Female Fans

(from Business Week, September 05, 2013)

The NFL’s main target is males, but they are constantly trying to broaden the market and engage female fans.  With this push for female involvement comes print advertising buys, TV spots, expanded merchandise offerings and special clothing boutiques at stadiums.  The constant struggle for NFL is to reach out to the female crowd without coming off as patronizing.  Jaime Weston, the league’s Vice President for brand and creative, says, “About four years ago, there was a push, recognizing how many women fans we have, that we need to speak to them. And while they follow the game like every other fan, like our male fans, they do want to be spoken to in a little bit different way.”  The tagline and effect NFL is broadcasting is “Together We Make Football.” This is an approach to move away from the traditional “pink and tight” apparel to tougher, specifically designed for women options.  “It is made for women, to fit women, for women to feel good in,” says Rhiannon Madden, NFL Director of Consumer Products.  They will also be showcasing women’s apparel at “style lounges” within select stadiums.  These will offer everything from a DJ to manicures and be built like a boutique.  Branding goes further than just apparel by offering merchandise such as toasters, wine bottle holders, salt-and-pepper shakers, cheese boards and other paraphernalia.  These items reach women who support NFL through game day gatherings.  Peter O’Reilly, the league’s Vice President for Fan Strategy and Marketing, explains, “Reaching these casual, mostly female fans is part of the league’s strategy to broaden an already massive base.”  Women’s apparel and time and money spent to reach women have tripled in the past four years.  Women want to become better fans and be treated like integral portions of the market.

The NFL Shop online showcases the new TV spot and clothing options.