Sports Marketers Misguided Approached: What About the Ladies?

Sports Center was on last night. Again. When I asked my husband how Plaxico Burress could possibly be in Jets training camp when he was supposed to be in jail, he was kind of surprised that I even know that he signed with the team. Then I casually mentioned that Rex Ryan is lucky to have him, considering Burress made the game-winning catch for the Giants three years ago in the Super Bowl. I thought for sure he was going back to the Steelers.

My husband was down right impressed. Who was this semi-knowledgeable sports fan standing before him?

WomanSportsFan Sports Marketers Misguided Approached: What About the Ladies?I’ve played sports most of my life, so I’m not exactly a slouch when it comes to sports. I’m not exactly a fanatic, either. Yes, I’ll root for the home team – and I’ll even get really excited when something good happens. But, I will not sulk for an entire week if my team loses. And yes, I own a few customary home team t-shirts. But I wear them on game days only, and I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a pom-pom as a wig or painting my team’s colors on my face.

So, it occurred to me that I waiver somewhere between the female sports fanatic and the woman who thinks a touchdown is when the airplane meets the runway. I’m no expert, but even I know that Barry Bonds holds two home run records.

Which begs the question: Why doesn’t more sports advertising appeal to me? I probably watch more sports programming in a single week than I did in an entire year before I was married. And I’m not alone –women comprise about one-third of the adult audience for ESPN sports programming, and nearly half of Super Bowl viewership.

Yet the beer-fueled commercials with scantily clad party girls rage on.

Not that they bother me. I understand they appeal to the greater good. And frankly, I don’t pay attention to them. Which is exactly my point, since I’m in the demographic that is actually spending the money. Women make 80% of all consumer purchasing decisions, most notably cars, food, electronics and stocks; all things that play a preeminent role in sports marketing.

To its credit, the NFL seems to be catching on with its new “Fit for You” clothing line, which was launched last fall. Turns out, women also purchase 46% of official NFL merchandise.

But other advertisers have some catching up to do. My husband doesn’t care what kind of paper towels we use, or who manufactured our appliances, but I can rattle off every product that lands in our shopping cart and the brand, make and model of the fridge I store them in (Oh, and did I mention 80% of us are also likely to become brand loyalists?).

The old adage “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world” has never been more true for consumer brands. Women have more purchasing power than ever before. Sports marketers would be smart to catch on.

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