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Report spotlights female NFL fans

Report spotlights female NFL fans

By David Broughton, Staff Writer

Published

Female fans of the NFL feel like they are valued by the league, but believe there are a number of ways to make the game-day experience better for them, according to an NFL-commissioned study completed this month by the University of Central Florida.

Seventy-two percent of women in they study thought they were a “valued participant.”
Photo by: AP IMAGES
SportsBusiness Journal obtained a copy of the internal study, titled “I’m Part Of The Shield, Too: Examining The NFL Game Day Experiences Of Female Spectators And Their Influential Patterns,” the second research effort to come out of the league’s “Diversity and Inclusion With Good Business” campaign.

The report, overseen by C. Keith Harrison, associate professor at the University of Central Florida, is based on data collected by Harrison and his staff during four NFL games last season, two each at Sun Life Stadium in Miami and O.co Coliseum in Oakland. Approximately 1,600 female spectators were asked a series of questions about their NFL game-day experience. Participation was voluntary, and no incentives were provided. Each woman wrote her individual responses directly on the survey.

“The core objective was to learn more about the female decision-making process and overall experiences at NFL games,” Harrison said. “This will most certainly help the NFL, individual NFL teams, sponsors and the league’s other stakeholders to make more informed strategic business decisions.”

In the report, 72 percent of the women felt that they are a “valued participant” of the NFL or a specific team, while 20 percent did not feel valued with respect to their game-day experiences.

More than half (51 percent) of the participants indicated that they were attending the game with family, and 22 percent said that they were attending the game with their husband. Eight percent said they were there “just with girlfriends.”

Women represent approximately 45 percent of the NFL fan base, according to Scarborough Research, and approximately 33 percent of the NFL viewing audience based on Nielsen data.

One area where women felt somewhat left out was in the league’s tailgating culture. In the survey, 28 percent felt that tailgating is exclusively male focused. One of the top suggestions from respondents on how to improve that part of the game-day experience was that teams have women-only port-a-potties.

Robert Gulliver, chief human resources officer at the NFL, said the decision to field the study, and others like it being conducted by UCF for the league, shows how the league recognizes the diversity of its fan base.

“When you look across our operation, you see success stories as a result of integrating diversity into our business,” he said. “The marketing department has ads that celebrate our female fans. Our consumer products department has had a lot of success with the launch of our women’s apparel line. And on the game-day front, our security department continues to make sure our game-day experience is family friendly, which obviously resonates with women.”

Gulliver does not expect any leaguewide game-day mandates to come out of this specific study, but said it will be shared with teams and the information could lead to a better game-day experience.

The women’s study is being replicated at select NFL stadiums, and coincides with the league’s fifth annual Breast Cancer Awareness Month activation. Additionally, this summer the league launched the Women’s Resource Initiative, an outreach effort aimed at engaging players’ mothers, wives and girlfriends in areas of career, health and safety, wellness and lifestyle.

In the study, jerseys were a popular seller.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
More variety, please


Female NFL fans want to see more variety when it comes to the licensed merchandise and apparel, according to the results of a recent study that examined the NFL game-day experiences of female spectators.

Approximately 38 percent of female spectators who participated in the study indicated that there was not sufficient variety of apparel at the sporting event.


Overall, 26 percent want to see a wider variety of female fitted T-shirts sold at NFL games, 13 percent want more jewelry and other accessories available, while 5 percent want more intimate apparel options. The following data shows specifics on the buying behavior in the survey:

— David Broughton

Coast to Coast