In the early 1900s, men formed the first parts of what would grow to be the National Football League, or NFL. The sport was presided over by men and played by men, and has long had a stereotypically male fan-base.
But fast-forward to current day, and the NFL's fan-base is nearly half female — around 45% (which likely comes as no surprise to, well, any of us who are fans.)
Of course, you can't talk about the NFL and women without acknowledging problems in the league.
Aside from these more serious issues, though, there's also the past stumbles with marketing to women —like the notorious "shrink it and pink it" logic of women's gear, which basically meant creating women's jerseys that looked like men's, only smaller and pink.
"What marketers have found is that when you have a product that women start to take to; as soon as marketers started to go for women, they lost women because women were like, 'hey I just want this product, it doesn't need to be girly,'" Kristina Durante, Ph.D., an associate professor of marketing at Rutgers Business School, tells Teen Vogue. "We don't have to have just one gender role that is hyper-feminized," she adds. "We can be whatever feels right for us."
"Women are more independent and have more buying power than ever before," says Durante. "We have more opportunities and are outpacing men when it comes to education." And then take into account that women make up about a third of fantasy sports players. A rising number play football. Many are segueing into coaching, announcing, and executive roles in the sport. And this weekend for the Super Bowl, upward of 50 million of us will be watching.