While many of us spend the majority of the regular season cheering on our favorite teams, there it’s usually around playoff time that the media really begins to take notice that our numbers are growing and that we are, in fact, a committed, aware and savvy group of fans that just happen to be female.
Our friends over at FOX 32 News Chicago recently produced a story regarding the growing numbers of female Blackhawks fans in Chicago. Our Blackhawks lead writer, Victoria Kendzierski had the opportunity to weigh in (check out above video).
We’ve heard some recent stats that roughly 40% of the Blackhawks fan base is made up of women. Is anyone surprised? With two Stanley Cups in the last four years and a loaded international roster of young, incredible talent (that just happen to be easy on the eyes) and you’ve got the perfect marketing mix. Throw in the 24-hour media coverage that includes every outlet scrambling to out-perform the other and the addition of BlackhawksTV, the Hawks in-house media company and production facility, and we’ve never had better access to the guys and the game.
— Anna Ylijoki (@AnnaYlijoki1) April 1, 2014
It doesn’t hurt that the the team, the players (and their WAGs) are pretty active on social media. Thanks to Twitter and Instagram, we get to see what players and their WAGs do on the weekends, where they vacation, where they dine, their pets, their families, their homes. What used to be ‘off-limits’ is now publicly shared by members of the teams and adorned by fans.
Add to the mix the already booming Chicago sports charity scene that the Blackhawks are slowly beginning to join. Bryan and Amanda Bickell are probably the most active with their work in the community that promotes Pit Bull awareness through the Bryan and Amanda Bickell Foundation. They host events monthly and just a few weeks ago a very pregnant Amanda hosted Pints for Pits at Durkin’s (read our full review here). This fall, Duncan Keith hosted the Duncan Keith Relief concert and Brent Seabrook has been active the last few years with the ICE Bowl.
Yep, we’ve been to all of these fun events and so have loads of other women. After all, who digs parties, red carpets, giving back to the community, the opportunity to get decked out and hit a hot spot with celebrity athletes? Hmmm…women?!
So while the media begins to take better notice of our growing numbers and Blackhawks fever peaks again, we can only hope that marketers also start paying better attention. How many more dumb blonde beer commercials must we endure before certain brands realize that we are an educated, sophisticated, feminine and aware bunch and are just as avid and aware as our male counterparts? Why teams, leagues and brands haven’t taken a more serious approach to marketing towards women still puzzles me.
After all, carefully converting a woman into an educated and aware fan only benefits the teams, leagues and their vendors. Women lead all purchasing decisions in the household. If a woman is a fan in her single years, the likelihood of her being a passionate fan when she’s a wife and mother is sure thing. It’s her that supports splurging on jerseys for the kids for Christmas and she’s the one that ultimately approves the thousands of dollars that go towards the season tickets each year. Yet, we still see only a fraction of sports marketing even remotely targeted to this incredibly under-served and lucrative demographic.
Women shell out the same amount of cash to go to games, purchase Hawks merchandise and drink the $12 beers at the UC. While some marketers (and media) have improved their delivery acknowledging our growing and aware fan base, many still fall short assuming we that we only attend games because we are dragged along, prefer pink jerseys, cannot pronounce “Toews” and prefer to watch fake-breasted women with pin-up credentials give us the ‘insider’ access to the players that we crave and desire (yes, we’re talking to you Comcast SportsNet).
So, the more women that tune-in, pay attention, know their stuff and can appreciate the benefits of being an educated and aware fan in our sports-blessed city, the more likliehood we’ll see better merchandise, more deserving and qualified women on the sidelines, better marketing from the networks, teams, and media, and an all-around greater respect for the female fan. And that my lady friends, is a win-win.