Call it destiny. I was born on Super Bowl Sunday II (the Green Bay Packers defeated the Oakland Raiders) to an All-American defensive end who was still playing college football at Appalachian State University. Yep, the Appy State that upset Michigan in 2007, just about the time the NFL caught on that women may prefer fashionable options in fan apparel–you know, something other than a “jersey sack” that comes down to your knees.
Since its very beginnings, the National Football League has been a men’s club…catering to the needs and wants of the owners and players as well as the fans, mostly male. Interestingly, the NFL’s fan base has changed quite a lot in recent years. Women now comprise nearly 50% of the sport’s fanbase, up 7% since 2006. 375,000 female fans attend games each weekend and over 45 million women watch pro-football on tv.
So finally, after years of being forced to wear too-big jerseys or worse (shopping in the little boys department!), the NFL’s ever-growing female audience is finally getting some attention. The league recently launched its “Fit for You” campaign which provides tons of stylish options for all us die hard female football fanatics (and a few fair weather friends). By tailoring the clothing to fit women’s bodies and offering traditional as well as new twists on the gear, the NFL is capitalizing on a previously frustrated female audience.
Another smart element of this campaign is the use of real women in the print ads, including wives and girlfriends of NFL players, coaches and owners. These aren’t just models getting paid to wear these clothes. The women in the ads truly are fans of the teams whose attire they are wearing. The days of the “football widow” are long gone. Wives, girlfriends and daughters alike are now just as loyal to their teams as any of the men in their lives.
There’s a marketing lesson to be learned here. If you’re involved in a business that you believe caters primarily to men, get off the bleachers and think outside the football field! Chances are you’re missing opportunities and losing revenue. Women make 85% of all purchasing decisions in the U.S. and FletcherPR can help you make your way into their hearts, souls, and designer handbags.
As the story goes, my Dad went on to become a high school football coach and I grew up loving the game. Currently, my biggest NFL fashion concern is trading my rhinestone-encrusted Roethlisberger jersey in for a Polamalu one. I’m not too hip on Big Ben these days but then again, Polamalu still hasn’t responded to my Facebook friend request. I do love his hair, though.