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FutureNow Article
Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2007

Sharing the Love with Female Fans

By Holly Buchanan
November 20th, 2007

Purple in the PostShout-out to Ron Patiro at our office for sharing this great blog post with me. It’s a story about women’s football clubs from our friends at Church of the Customer. In the post, Jackie Huba talks about the Baltimore Raven’s women’s fan club, “Purple”…

Purple already has 3,500 members who get inside information about the team, special offers for a new line of women’s team apparel and jewelry, a monthly newsletter, and invitations to special annual events.

For super-fans, Purple offers a $250 VIP level called the Lavender Ladies; they get special access at training camp, private autograph sessions with players and naturally, access to limited-edition merchandise.

One of the things I really like is the acknowledgment that women like to wear team apparel, too. Creating this apparel in women’s sizes, and even creating new apparel and jewelry allows women to show their team spirit without looking like they’re wearing an oversized nightshirt.

I am a life-long New York Giants fan. (OK, I’ll give you a minute to compose yourself. Get it out of your system. I’ve heard it all before.) My dad started me on it when I was a wee lass and I’ve stuck with them ever since. Give me a Giants jersey or T-shirt that’s form-fitting and attractive and I’m all over it. I have a small head, so a Giants cap in a smaller size would make me really happy.

Many teams are already creating such apparel. But take a look at how well the Ravens do it:


(If video doesn’t show up, click here.)

Other clothing manufacturers are getting into the game as well. Fantoo caters to the female fan with a blog and specially created apparel for females into sports.

“Fantoo apparel blurs the line between fashion and sports,” said Carol Doroba, Head Coach of Fantoo. “Women can now show off their sports knowledge in a sexy, feminine way –- with a great-fitting tee or tank made just for them and adorned with creative graphics that send a clear message that she gets the game. We have taken care to utilize the best there is in terms of fabric and applications to create polished yet playful clothing.”

Sports teams could do even more to reach out to their female fans. They could create female fan personas [define]. Personas are useful for so many things, but a lesser known benefit is new product ideas they create.

Just look at FemmFan.com. (Yes, the Locker Room Lookers did get my attention, but that’s not the best part.) Check out this piece of insight:

Women, although avid about sports, are not nearly as intrigued by the unending statistics and scores as men are. Women want to know about the people in the uniforms, their lives, their families, and what makes them tick. Women want to view their athletic “icons” in a human way, “Up Close and Personal”.

Hmm, getting a few ideas for content for your women’s sports fan website? What else might our female sports fan persona like? Here are a few ideas:

- Team coolies, not for beer cans, but for wine glasses. (I haven’t quite worked out what it would look like, but would I love a NY Giants wrap keeping my Sauvingon Blanc cool? You bet.)

- Team visors small enough so they fit a smaller woman’s head. This is actually a problem with lots of visors; they stick up too much on a smaller woman’s forehead. I finally found one from Nike that didn’t stick up too far on my forehead, but I’d rather have my Giants logo on there than the Nike swoosh.

- Team yoga mats. I could be praticing my downward dog while appreciating my team logo. Of course, if a Dallas fan brought in a Cowboy yoga mat and sat too close to me, it could get ugly. Our sun salutations might turn into a smack-down. (Ok, maybe the yoga mat is a bad idea.)

- Scrunchies. You know, the thing you tie your hair back with. I’d love to have a NY Giants logo on my sporty pony tail.

- OK, I know this is going to sound sexist, but could we see team photos with guys with their shirts off? I know, I know… But I’m telling you, they could sell a whole lot of calendars, website downloads, whatever.

- Am I the only one who loves the United Way spots with the NFL players mentoring little kids? I’d love to know more about what individual players are doing to give back to the community. With so many players making the news for crimes rather than good deeds, it would probably be good PR for the league as well as interesting stories for the fans.

- You couldn’t do this because the men would cry foul, but wouldn’t it be great to have a female fan night at the stadium where a portion of the men’s rooms got switched over to women’s rooms so the lines to the bathroom would be shorter? I guarantee that would get NFL marketers high-fives from female fans.

Ok, some of this is practical, some… not so much. But personas allow you to view your products or services from another point of view. Not only do they provide insight, they can help generate all sorts of new ideas.

Female sports fans: What would you like to see? How could your favorite team show you some love?

Add Your Comments

Comments (8)

  1. As a Raven’s season ticket holder and fan, I can attest to the success of these programs. I can tell you that we are one of the most female friendly football cities and it shows in the stands every week. Have you ever seen a women try to wear a man’s jersey or shirt? Not fun… By creating jerseys, hats and other items specifically sized for them it goes a long way.

    Now typically I do have a “no ladies” policy for the games ;) , but when I do bring that special someone you don’t want them to look like a purple blob cause the jersey is 10 sizes too big.

    That’s not to say the Ravens did everything right… The ‘Purple’ program started out as ‘Football 101′ which offended many of the female fans who are more knowledgeable about the game than some of the men around here. Once they figured not to talk down to women, they got tremendous traction. It’s not uncommon now to see groups of 3 and 4 women attending the games every week on their own.

  2. [...] Really.  We’d like to do something special for you – give you higher levels of service, create a special club for you, thank you profusely with free gifts.  Marketing Note: be creative, and avoid discounting to this [...]

  3. I am doing my Senior Thesis on Female Fans in Sports and I found your website. Any information that you could help me with such as other websites and that sort of thing would be greatly appreciated. I looking to get statistics on how much the female fan base has increased over say the last 25 years on female fans.
    I am a male and doing the thesis on this topic. Again, any help would be appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Eddy Langston

  4. I am not a sports fan…I am a Harley Davidson enthusist!!! When reading this article, I could see the similarities!!! I am a passenger, I do not ride by own Hog, but I want to show my pride!!! I have a Harley scrunchie…bandanas, coats (and not just leather jackets), jewelry (alot!!!), socks, shirts (and these are not just T-shirts, they are well-fitting, attractive clothing that I get many compliments on from women and men), coffee mugs, jewelry case, shoes (and not just boots!!!), sun glasses, purse, belt, shorts, jeans, etc…it’s addicitive!!! The catalogs Harley sends out let you know who is wearing the item being advertised, what they ride and what their motto/vision of life is (it is very appealing!!!) I have had conversations start up with total strangers due to the clothing/jewelry I am wearing…very good conversations with people who feel as passionate as I do!!! So I can definiately see the attraction for women fans to want display their pride the same way and how it WILL be very successful!!!

  5. Still looking more information on the female sports fan. Any help would be appreciated, such as websites,percentages of increased of female fan base in college and professional sports over the years.
    I’m doing my senior thesis on this topic. Help!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Thanks,
    Eddy Langston
    910-658-2734

  6. Because you folks are football fans, check out my new book titled “Game-Day Goddess: Learning Football’s Lingo.” It’s for fans who want to know more about football–whether you know very little about the game or have an extensive knowledge. The book’s entertaining, informative, and let’s you learn about football painlessly. It’s available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.

    Suzy Beamer Bohnert, author, “Game-Day Goddess: Learning Football’s Lingo” and “Binkie Learns to Fly”

  7. I love your article here. I’m a huge sports fan (and female too)! It’s a pain trying to find women’s jerseys. The only jerseys for women are usually the main guy – the quarterback or the running back. What about a Haynesworth jersey? Maybe Keith Bullock? I love Vince Young (and I have a woman’s VY jersey), but what about offering another jersey for women?? Anyways, just an example.

    Check out my website for female sports fans. http://www.LadyDSports.com

  8. It is good to know that clothign manufacturers are designing sports apparel for women as well. Its a good strategy to increase sales since in today’s liberal world many women would appreciate such clothing items. thanks for the post.

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Holly Buchanan is a marketing to women consultant specializing in marketing to women online. You can read her blog at http://marketingtowomenonline.typepad.com She is the co-author, along with Michele Miller of The Soccer Mom Myth - Today's Female Consumer - Who She Really Is, Why She Really Buys.

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