No, that is not a typo. The NFL can now be part of a “girl’s night”. According to the article “Women’s Top-Watched Show Is Not What You Think” by Michael McCarthy, “Sunday Night Football” has tremendously increased its popularity among women.
As someone who is from Chicago (and an huge Bears fan) I can understand the culture of football in the States. It is more than just a culture. People literally live, breath, and eat football. Entire Sundays, Mondays, and now Thursdays are dedicated to this sport. The difference is that now, it isn’t just men who are watching or talking about it.
Women are increasingly interested in this sport. Some may ask, why now? Well, as someone who has followed football her entire life, it’s easy to say it isn’t something new. The interest among women could have always been there.
But ‘now’ a new phenomenon has occurred. The internet, media, and television outlets have made it simple to understand the game! Social media has connected fans from all over the world that can comment on play-by-play action. Anyone can now follow the game and actually understand what is going on.
Being a Bears’ (or any other team) fan can be compared to being brand loyal. The Bears’ franchise is a brand in itself and drives the behavior of its fans. Social media
has only allowed the loyalty to grow.
Fans can post pictures on Instagram of their game day apparel or live shots from the side lines. They can use Twitter to connect with players, coaches, and professional commentators. They can also use their own twitter feed to comment on every play. Facebook connects fans and rivals through status updates. (My news feed on a Bears game day is overwhelmed with ‘DA BEARS’ shout-outs). Fantasy football has allowed fans to create their own teams and compete against their friends based on how good (or bad) their players do each week. Fans can also share their views on sports blogs. The fans now can control the information posted on the internet and make their own opinions.
And as this online community continues to grow, more and more fans will feel comfortable to join.
So how did the NFL react to an increased female audience? Well according to the McKinsey&Company article, ‘Demystifying Social Media’ social media has four primary functions. The NFL organization has utilized these four functions to their advantage.
- NFL has monitored social channels for trends among fans and has identified that more women are showing interest in the sport.
- This was picked up by surveys, an increase in female tweets about the NFL, an increase in Facebook updates, and overall female attendance at games.
- NFL responds to this growing trend by hiring more women commentators and expanding their women’s NFL apparel line.
- NFL has created such a positive buzz around its season and has openly welcomed their new target audience: Women.
- NFL has allowed Victoria’s Secret to launch the PINK NFL Collection. Women can choose between 32 teams to represent through stylish PINK apparel.
- Victoria’s Secret is an iconic women’s brand and for the NFL to link itself to the brand shows the attempt to include women into their fan base and generate long-term behavioral changes. And life-long fans.