NGWSD And The NFL Intro
National Girls & Women in Sports Day is February 1 and has never been more significant to Americans coming on the coattails of the Women’s March on January 21 held in many cities across the nation and world. NGWSD 2017 is the chosen day meant to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of women and girls in sports. The 31st anniversary of the annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day, marks a national observance for females in sport. Our family was blessed to have a Mom and now Grandma that played international basketball at the highest levels for her country of Ecuador. Many of the Sports Techie community blog readers and followers have similar sporting role models in parents, wives, sisters, daughters, and inspiring friends that along with athletes, coaches, athletic directors, and lawmakers, are committed to Expanding Opportunity for all girl and women. With the 51st NFL Super Bowl LI just a few days after, let’s take a look at the progress women have made overall via the march and in the historically male-dominated world of football.
National Girls & Women in Sports Day is sure to piggyback off the Big Mo created by the the largest protest in United States history during the Women’s March. An estimated 750,000 showed up in Los Angeles to stage a peaceful protest. While in the nation’s capital of Washington D.C. approximately 500,000 people gathered or around 3 times the amount of President Trump supporters at inauguration day according to legit data provided by the NY Times. Women, girls, men, and the LGBT communities joined together with 670 marches around the globe in New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Denver, Paris, Tokyo, Dublin, Sydney, and even Antarctica, to show a display of solidarity.
Because around 3.7 million people across at least 500 different cities, including one out of every American citizen, joined in on this massive grassroots effort of equality for every woman, we all need to recognize the strong message sent to everyone around the planet that even in our great country, we cannot let all the hard work performed by others ensuring women are treated equally as men now and into the future, no matter the color of skin, simply crash and burn with the changing of the guard from President Obama to President Trump.
One sport that is surprisingly cross-gender and attracting the fan engagement support of more and more women is football.
Women and Football
Football’s fastest growing market is football according to the infographic compiled by the Ohio University Online Master’s in Coaching and Athletic Administration program.
Women are the fastest-growing audience for the National Football League. Between the years 2009 and 2013, female interest in NFL football rose by 26%, more than double the 10% increase among US men. According to the study by Ohio University, about half of all American women are football fans as opposed to 69% of American men.
Of the 114, 442,000 in total viewership for SuperBowl 2015, an astonishing 53,787,740 were female making it watched by more women and girls than the upcoming Academy Awards or the Grammy’s. I find it odd that Thursday Night Football with so many stinker games saw a spike in ladies watching but the numbers say it was so. SNF also grew their female audience. The NFL has gone even more digital this past season streaming over Twitter for free on Sunday’s. Twitter streams will likely offset some of the decrease in viewership and ratings attributed to the Presidential election campaign during 2016.
An amazing 34 percent of fantasy football players were female in 2015, up 14 percent from 2014. Sports tech is opening other doors in football for women in training, fitness, nutrition, and rehab.
Teams with the biggest female fan bases include Super Bowl 51 team, the New England Patriots. I am shocked the Seattle Seahawks female 12s are not ranked up at the top with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys, and Houston Texans.
Women are not only the fastest-growing audience for the NFL, they are playing the sport in great numbers as well. In fact, 1,715 girls played 11-man football during the 2013-2014 high school and college sports season. High school and college football playing girls in the U.S. is no longer related just to kickers and punters as more and more skill positions and lineman, or should I say, linewomen, are putting on the pads to play the physical team sport.
Besides earning athletic scholarships, there is also a future in professional football for women. The Women’s Football Alliance, the Independent Football League, and for some reason left out by the infographic, the Legends Football League, all have some level of traction via sponsors and TV or web streams helping to grow the sport domestically.
This growing involvement at both the fan and participation levels, is driving the demand for women on the field in roles of authority.
Leading the way are Jen Welter, the first female coach hired in NFL history by the Arizona Cardinals in 2015, and Kathryn Smith, the 2016 Buffalo Bills quality control special teams coach.
A woman first broke the NFL barrier to becoming an official when Shannon Eastin did so in 2014 followed by the hiring of Sarah Thomas as a permanent league official last season.
This graphic also highlights the growing number of female NFL ownership and executives.
NFL owners and front office personnel are pioneering the business of football. There are three teams owned outright by women: The Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, and Tennessee Titans. Women currently hold positions in the NFL as chief health and medical advisor and chief marketing officer. Another prominent female in the NFL is Charlotte Jones Anderson, Vice President and Chief Brand Officer for the Dallas Cowboys and Chair of the NFL Foundation.
I have been in recent contact by leveraging LinkedIn connections with forward thinking Vice Presidents and Directors of Marketing, Digital and Information Technology about ScoreMore mobile fan engagement software where I am the Director of Business Development. Our company is a certified WBENC and comes at a time when the diversity of the NFL needs more positive public relations stories about working together with women owned businesses.
Finally, marketers are leveraging the power of female fans the likes of Under Armour and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Football-centric products and accessories are made especially for women. Official fan clubs for women are growing in popularity as are women-centric events. Content created for female fandom is also being developed by the football marketing departments and brands.
While women have made great progress in the world of football in recent years, there is still room to grow. To learn more about football’s fastest-growing market and the women dominating the industry, checkout the infographic below, created by Ohio University’s Online Master’s in Coaching and Athletic Administration program.
Sports Techie, this Ohio University visual resource highlights the progress women have made in the male-dominated world of football.
Football across the state of Georgia is taken very seriously. Women perhaps not so much. With the Atlanta Falcons playing in the Super Bowl, I have seen many female fans proudly representing the organization by wearing jerseys, sharing thoughts about the team on social media and using hashtag #riseup.
Viral hashtag #Brotherhood has me questioning aloud why the more inclusive #Familyhood or #Sisterhood hashtags are not activated by the Falcons because brotherhood alienates women.
While times are a changing and the NFL loves the female fan, many men in the South along with President Trump still have a ways to go to when it comes to respecting the better half.
Show your pride on National Girls and Women in Sports Day on February 1.
See y’all later in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world.
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