Not a boys club

Not a boys club

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For the past 50 years professional football has been proud to call itself America's national pastime. You may ask yourself how a sport earns that right. You may be surprised to hear the answer is that women have made it possible. From New York to Oakland and Green Bay to Dallas, National Football League franchises are attracting female fans from all over the country and it is changing the mindset of just how popular the NFL can become.

During the 2008 NFL season nearly 100 million women watched NFL games on television, while more than 375,000 women attended NFL games each weekend. Super Bowl XLIII had the most female viewers for any show in the past 15 years as an average of 38.3 million women tuned in to see the Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Arizona Cardinals. With those types of numbers it’s no wonder why the NFL can boast being America’s favorite sport.

The loyalties don’t stop there. Women’s clothing is the NFL’s fastest growing apparel business. Producing pink hats and jerseys, pullovers, tank tops and T-shirts, handbag and purses all to fill the growing demands of its female fan base, and they haven’t been disappointed as the league has seen double-digit sale increases over each of the last six years.

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Women’s impact on the NFL isn’t just confined to the stands and team shops. Their largest contributions are coming from the front offices throughout the league from NFL headquarters to all 32 NFL clubs including NFL Films, NFL.com and NFL Network. In all, there are 59 female executives working in the NFL at the vice president level and above. That number is increasing rapidly and there is no ceiling in sight.

The NFL is arguably the most recognizable product in America. For many people it has been seen as a boys club branded specifically for men. That simply isn’t the case anymore.

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