SBD/October 16, 2013/Franchises

Blackhawks Seeing Big Gains In Female Fanbase, As Marketers Take Notice

A survey showed that women make up 38% of the Blackhawks' local fanbase
One of the "most dramatic increases" in the Blackhawks' fanbase has "come from a demographic you might not expect: women," according to Danny Ecker of CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS. Data from research firm Scarborough shows that women now make up 38% "of the Hawks faithful locally," up from 28% in '08. The data comes from twice-a-year surveys of "more than 4,100 Chicago residents on whether they watched, attended or listened to a Blackhawks game during a given period." While Blackhawks games on Comcast SportsNet Chicago last season were 73% higher than the net's "previous all-time hockey ratings record average of 3.11, ratings in the women 18-34 and women 21-34 categories each rose" by 102%. Sponsors and advertisers have "come onboard because of the female fan appeal, too." Lincolnshire, Ill.-based mail-order office-supply company "recently renewed its corporate partnership with the team in part because it tested well with women, who make up the majority of its customer base." The team has "acknowledged the shift," and Chair Rocky Wirtz has "pushed team management to dig deeper into the makeup of its rapidly expanding following to better serve" its female fans. The Blackhawks "lead all NHL teams" on photo-sharing website Pinterest, with "more than 7,100 followers." Team Exec VP Jay Blunk said, "The strategy remains to mainstream the Blackhawks brand. Our hope is for the continued development of a deeper connection to the Blackhawks brand if fans identify with the personalities of our players" (, 10/15).
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