NFL’s Presence Continues to Grow Among Women, and Marketers Are Taking Note

Shape magazine is co-hosting a big bash

Football isn’t just for guys, and marketers are getting wise to it.

Joining the lineup of historically testosterone-fueled Super Bowl parties this year is one co-hosted by Shape, a women’s magazine; and American Media Inc. sibling pub Men’s Fitness. The $2,500-a-head affair at New York’s Cipriani 42nd Street will have a decidedly feminine vibe, with performances by Marc Anthony, John Legend and Mary J. Blige and a fashion show featuring a new line of Shape activewear. Movado is a sponsor.

“Fitness is at the heart of Shape magazine, and over the years, women have become involved in sports, and also in being spectators of sports,” said Tara Kraft, vp and editor in chief, Shape. “About half the audience of the Super Bowl is women, and women are also increasing their frequency of watching football every weekend. This is acknowledging that.”

According to the NFL, 82 million women watched the 2013 NFL season, up from 80 million the year before. No surprise, then, that the league has been pitching apparel to those fans, aided by women’s titles like Condé Nast’s Self.

Last year, Self created a perforated card with women sporting NFL gear. Edit has acknowledged reader interest in the sport, too, featuring football-inspired workouts and gadgets in the editorial pages.

“Women in the fall are thinking about football as much as the guys are,” Self vp, publisher Laura McEwen said. “If I want to bond with [my husband and son], I have to get into the game. Football’s a part of our culture.”