Thursday, September 18, 2008

All about women in sports... USA Today today.
There's an article on the new audience demographics in sports that marketers are clamoring for: women. Women are watching more men's professional sports, which has lead specific products for the female fan like better-fitting t-shirts (unfortunately they often come in pink). But marketers are even paying attention to women's sports, like professional basketball, which are starting to be seen as viable advertising venues. And, of course, the Olympics have always attracted more women. Of course the advertisers seem to think all women are the same and want to see the same thing. So when it became clear (like 4 years ago in Athens) that Michael Phelps--a man--was going to be the biggest story in Beijing, the powers-that-be started to put the female spin on it. They introduced his mother. So if you started to get a little annoyed at all the shots of Debbie Phelps, know that they were all for you women. And this woman was indeed over Debbie Phelps by the third or fourth gold medal.
But it looks like the fame many Olympic athletes receive--at least female athletes--will not last. Gymnasts Nastia Luikin and Shawn Johnson are hot now but even I can see their popularity waning. Gymnastics may be a major ratings getter during the games but we rarely hear about it in the interim. And while Luikin and Johnson have some sweet deals and gigs right now--no one expects those to lead to long-term fame. The article highlights the retirement (at age 20) blues of many gymnasts.
Another article cites and lauds the many accomplishments of female athletes but notes the lack of women in coaching, ownership and management. It has many stats on (the lack of) female leadership in intercollegiate athletics and the football effect. The bigger the football program, the less likely there will be a female athletic director.
Similar theme: women in sports broadcasting. They're on the sidelines but not in the booth doing play-by-play.
And finally, Saturday marks the anniversary of Billie Jean King's win over Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes. This article has a recount of the event, its long-lasting effects, and stats from the match. Make sure to check out the BJK picture gallery that is linked to the left of the article.

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