44% of football fans are women
By The Numbers
Since June 24th 1922 when the American Football Association changed it's name to the National Football League, football has been a mans game. Not anymore. Welcome to the next evolution the the NFL culture shift where women are the new audience...and more.
In terms of female fans, the NFL trails only college sports, according to data from The ESPN Sports Poll and the U.S. Census, with league officials saying 44% of all football fans are now women. Here in Seattle, 93% of the Lady12s audience on Facebook registers female (33% are between the ages of 25-34 and the majority live in Seattle, Tacoma and Puyallup).
At least on the domestic front, the female marketplace is the last untapped market for the NFL to grow it's fan base. Since market studies indicate that women influence nearly 70% of all purchases, it may be the most lucrative as well. According to Pete O'Riley, who is the league's Vice President of Fan Strategy/Marketing, the NFL is showing considerable success in growing its base among women. Among other things, the league, in the last few years, has expanded its merchandising strategy to target the female marketplace. Included in this is a full line of apparel designed for women. This line includes products covering the entire spectrum from juniors sizes to maternity wear. They have also added a special section of their website, www.nfl.com/women, just for us.
There are women in football as well. According to the NFL's latest statistics, 71 women occupy positions with teams or the league office at the vice president level or above. What about the women who play football? Go to Debate.org and you will see a deadlock vote of 50/50 on if women should play in the NFL or not. According to league spokesman Greg Aiello, "The NFL has no male-only rule. All human beings are eligible, as long as they are three years out of high school and have a usable football skill set." 2014 introduced the first female athlete to join a pro football league under contract and she is not only an olympic athlete but also a PHD.
In a recent post at Refinery29.com, columnist Vanessa Golembewski opened her post with the following statement:
Since its inception in 1920, the NFL has been a man's game. Just look at any sitcom; the scenario is always the same: A working knowledge of the game seems necessary for that legendary "man card." These same shows portray women as having (at best) a marginal relationship with the biggest sport in America. Not only are they excluded from the football festivities, but these fictional portrayals show women who are bitter about their husbands' obsession with the game. And, I think I speak for female football fans everywhere when I say, "Well, that's a bunch of bullsh*t."
What does all this mean? For Lady 12s it means that we are taking our role in the Seahawks fan community very seriously. Time to move over boys, that seat is reserved for my girls!