SBD/February 1, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Pro Leagues Continue To Target Female Fans With Stylish Apparel Offerings

MLB says it has the largest percentage of female fans among pro leagues
Female football fans have the "widest choice ever of fashion forward clothes to support their teams" as pro sports leagues have been "madly licensing stylish clothes and new accessories to grab more of the multi-billion dollar team fashion market," according to Ellen Warren of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. The NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB all have seen "growth in their fem fan base in recent years." That helps account for the "availability of nail polish in authorized Major League Baseball team colors, maternity tops with 'future fan' printed over the baby bump and a footwear plan under development by the National Football League to license stilettos in the same shades as team football jerseys." MLB VP/Business PR Matt Bourne said that the league "has the largest percentage of women fans (45.5 percent) of all pro sports," while NFL VP/Consumer Products & Apparel Tracey Bleczinski noted that 44% "of NFL fans today are women." NHL Exec VP/Marketing Brian Jennings said, "They are a fan and it doesn't make them less of a fan to wear something with some sequins or a little more fitted ... a little more glitz and glam." NBA Senior Dir of Apparel Licensing Lisa Piken: "We still offer the pink if that's what you want (but) the female consumer spoke up and demanded more." She noted that the NBA offers items like "vintage washes, foil graphics, unique fonts and glitter prints." Warren noted Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Forever 21, JCPenney, Target, Destination Maternity, Victoria's Secret and Nordstrom "now carry team clothing" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/28).
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