Analysis: NFL appeal to women isn’t about pink jerseys | Sports

There was a time when the NFL thought appealing to female fans meant pink jerseys and dazzling apparel.

Not anymore. Those stereotypes are long gone.

The league has made it a priority to increase opportunities for women in every aspect of the sport, from front office to courtside positions. The NFL had the most women in on-field assistant coaching roles at the start of the 2022 season with 15 of any men’s professional sport.

“I think something that we’ve done right over the last couple of years that I feel passionate about, and we talk to thousands of women who love sports, is we don’t want to be any different as soccer fans,” said Sam Rapoport, senior director for the NFL diversity, equity and inclusion. “We don’t want to have dazzled kitchen tools or need to wear Russell Wilson’s pink jersey. I mean, some people like it, and I don’t want to take that away from them. But there is something you lose when you are another fan.

“We are fans, just like any genre is a fan. We love sports. We are in it. We love textures. We love statistics. We want to talk about it on Sunday. We want to use it as a tool to connect with our family.”

Rapoport, a former professional quarterback in a women’s football league, has spent two decades working to expand career opportunities for women in the NFL. She points to the statistics to prove her point.

Women and girls made up 46 percent of the NFL fan base (ages 8 and up) in the United States, or 84 million female fans in 2021, according to data from last year’s SSRS sports survey. The gender balance is similar among the next generation of fans, with 45% of the NFL fan base under 35 made up of women and girls. Additionally, 56% of women and girls ages 8 and older in the United States are fans of the NFL, making the NFL the No. 1 league in the league. 1 in this demographic.

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