SBD/February 6, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

NFL's Appeal To Women Gaining Steam; Merch Sales Still Trail MLB, College Gear

NFL officials said that 44% of all football fans are now women
The NFL's “concerted effort over the past two years to market the game and apparel to women is showing signs of paying off, but sales of league merchandise still trail” MLB and collegiate-licensed materials, according to Kristi Dosh of An ESPN Sports Poll and the U.S. Census found that the NFL in terms of female fans “trails only college sports,” and league officials said that “44 percent of all football fans are now women.” Online retailer Fanatics found that NFL merchandise sold to women “jumped significantly over last year.” The ‘11 playoff season “showed a dramatic change: an 85 percent sales increase in December over 2010 and a 125 percent increase in January from the year prior.” A growing female fan base “creates a more marketable NFL for advertisers and sponsors.” NFL VP/Fan Strategy & Marketing Peter O'Reilly said that the league “has done well in this area the last couple of years.” The NFL in ’10 “introduced a clothing line specifically made for women called ‘Fit for You,’ featuring various choices, from junior sizes to maternity clothing.” Building upon the “positive response to that initiative, the league added to the line in 2011 and opened up a new section of its website just for women:” The new site “highlights the women's apparel line and also added NFL Party,” a site that promotes "homegating." In addition, wives of players, coaches and owners “donned gear for advertisements, which appeared in popular magazines.” Fashion and sports website Founder Heather Zeller said, "The NFL has done a really good job realizing wives and daughters of coaches are some of the best ambassadors of the game. They could have used Victoria's Secret models, but these are the women actually watching the game, so they're much more relatable" (, 2/3).

A RARE OCCURANCE: In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin noted there are IndyCars painted for the 32 NFL teams around the city, but he wrote, “It’s extremely rare for the NFL to allow another sports property to utilize its logos.” On the suggestion that IndyCar sell individual pictures of the NFL painted cars, Cavin wrote, “It’s one thing to showcase the NFL teams during the Super Bowl; it’s another to move into retail. I don’t see any way the NFL’s licensing department would permit that” (, 2/2).
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