Women Are Still Buying into the NFL

NFLDespite all the talk of the NFL’s domestic violence problem and the reputation issues it faces among female consumers, the league’s business seems to be doing quite well, thanks.

According to a recent report on team jersey sales released by the Dick’s Sporting Goods chain, “Ladies Love Football” (yes, that’s the subtitle of the report). While the site doesn’t include specific numbers, it tells us that the sport and its merchandise are more popular than ever before among American women. The top-selling jerseys so far this season all belong to quarterbacks:

  • The Broncos’ Peyton Manning
  • The Colts’ Andrew Luck
  • The Browns’ Johnny Manziel

As The Washington Post told us almost two months ago, women make up 45 percent of the NFL’s fanbase — and they’ve become its “most important demographic.”

Later in September, Businessweek reported that the league is ONLY growing because of American women; overall viewership among women rose by 26 percent from 2009 to 2013 (the number for men is 18 percent).

We can’t attribute any of the NFL’s continued dominance among female fans to commissioner Roger Goodell’s testimony in Ray Rice’s domestic violence hearing or the league’s decision to reject Adrian Peterson’s request for immediate reinstatement after he pled no contest to charges of child abuse.

Despite the fact that women in general — and five of our favorite PR experts — tend to be more skeptical of the league on both the domestic violence and concussion scandal fronts, one fan told WaPo that “I couldn’t imagine not watching it on Sundays.” The Dick’s survey seems to back up that sentiment.

Maybe the NFL is simply too big to fail.