‘Who Says Football Isn’t Pretty?’ Asks NFL

Feb 04, 2011

For years, the apparel industry has been criticized for taking
a "pink
it and shrink it" approach when designing apparel for active women or
sports fans — essentially making smaller sizes and just coloring it pink.
But then they were equally criticized for leaving women with only tomboy looks
or left to wear smaller sizes of men’s player jerseys.

In response, the National
Football League last year delivered its most-comprehensive sporty yet fashionable
women’s collection. Showcased last fall in its first dedicated campaign to
apparel for women, "Fit for You," the stylish
looks include off-the-shoulder tops, capri pants, vintage T-shirts and boot-cut
jeans. But beyond some edgier looks, the collection’s overall push was to showcase
a better use of fabrics, colors, and silhouettes that flatter women of all
ages and sizes.

The new look is epitomized by the success
of the Touch collection from the actress Alyssa Milano. First launched in 2008,
the collection features animal print T-shirts, fleece sweatshirts, fitted jerseys
and jackets.

"When I look at what women are wearing now, they are trying to be fashionable
and yet show they are fit," Mark
Waller, the chief marketing officer for the NFL, told the New York Times.
The campaign aims for women ages 20 to 40 who are active, family-oriented and
casual or avid fans of football. The NFL said women represent more than 40
percent of its fan base.

The overall NFL collection also includes flip flops, jewelry,
scarves, maternity clothing, nail polish kits, yoga mats, watches and purses.

launch was supported with an extensive ad campaign illustrating the new approach.
Print ads that ran in Shape, InStyle and People featured
headlines like, "Who Says Football Isn’t Pretty?" "This
Ain’t Your Daddy’s NFL Wear," and "Finally. Love Your Team Without
Looking Like You’re on It."

Discussion Questions: What do you think of the NFL’s fashionable approach to women? Does it offer lessons for others trying to reach female consumers that have traditionally marketed to men?

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4 Comments on "‘Who Says Football Isn’t Pretty?’ Asks NFL"

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Carol Spieckerman
10 years 3 months ago

Gosh, it seems so obvious post-execution, doesn’t it? Brilliant concept, and others could learn from it (hello, NASCAR, NBA, NHL…) I’m sports challenged; however, all of my women friends who adore sports are a lot like the men I know who do: they like ALL sports to varying degrees. Women also like to build wardrobes so why not a sports fan wardrobe?

Gordon Arnold
10 years 3 months ago

The actual site name is women.nfl.com. This is a great site and a place to buy sports clothing that women will wear out and about. I hope the designers out there are watching and willing to give it a try. The payoffs will follow.

Doug Fleener
10 years 3 months ago

I’m just surprised it has taken them so long to do this. There are a lot of female football fans, and I’m sure most of them would prefer to have fan gear made for a woman.

We have some clients who are doing quite well pushing hometown team charm bracelets, and not surprising the stores in Pittsburgh and Wisconsin are doing the most business.

I do think NASCAR has been the leader in offering women fan gear more tailored for them, but the rest of the sports leagues could and should follow the NFL and Nascar trend.

Ralph Jacobson
10 years 3 months ago

I continue to be amazed at how we all get so excited when a company finally figures out the painfully obvious. Let me help the rest whom will undoubtedly follow this “amazing” trend: 1) Identify an underserved market (another e.g., high-quality, plus size women’s), 2) Provide the product to the market, 3) Promote it.


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