WOMEN'S IMPACT ON NFL KEEPS GROWING
August 11, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
Super Bowl XLVIII was watched by an average of 44.9 million women making it the most-watched show among women of all time.
The previous four Super Bowls round out the five most-watched shows ever among women. Prior to Super Bowl XLIV, the largest female audiences were the 40.9 million (Feb. 23, 1994) and 38.6 million (Feb. 25, 1994) women who watched the 1994 Winter Olympic figure skating competition featuring Nancy Kerrigan.
Additionally, more women watched Super Bowl XLVIII than the combined male and female audience for both the 2014 Academy Awards (43.8 million) and the 2014 Grammy Awards (28.5 million combined).
Overall, more than 93 million women watched the 2013 NFL season, 46 percent of NFL fans are women and 63 percent of females (12 and older) consider themselves NFL fans. According to an ESPN Sports Poll, 21 percent of women selected the NFL as their favorite sport, nearly double the 12 percent who chose MLB. College football and the NBA were both named by eight percent of women.
Women are not just watching and following the NFL. Women are involved in all elements of the game, both at the league and team levels in senior positions.
As co-chairman of the San Francisco 49ers, DENISE DE BARTOLO YORK (left) has been an integral part of more than three decades of 49ers football. The team’s storied history and its ability to positively influence the lives of others are very important to York. With the opening of Levi’s Stadium this fall, both will be highlighted in the state-of-the-art 49ers Museum presented by Sony, which plays home to the Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. 49ers Hall of Fame and the Denise DeBartolo York Education Center.
Under the leadership of York, the team’s community outreach programs and 49ers Foundation have flourished – supporting development programs for underserved youth and donating more than $23 million to nonprofits. York also provides mentoring and tuition assistance for at-risk youth and supports several local charitable organizations.
NORMA HUNT (right) continues to play an integral part of the Chiefs in Kansas City. She owns the distinction of being the only woman known to have attended all 48 Super Bowls, and was selected to preside over the coin toss at Super Bowl XLI along with Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino. She is involved in numerous philanthropic and civic efforts in Kansas City and Texas. Her late husband, LAMAR HUNT, was the guiding force behind the formation of the Kansas City Chiefs and the American Football League and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1972.
Hunt, along with her daughter-in-law TAVIA HUNT (wife of Chiefs owner CLARK HUNT), will participate in the NFL Women’s Apparel advertising campaign. The Hunts will be featured alongside other female NFL leaders such as CHARLOTTE JONES ANDERSON (Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President/Chief Brand Officer and NFL Foundation chair), SUZANNE JOHNSON (wife of New York Jets owner WOODY JOHNSON) and TANYA SNYDER (wife of Washington Redskins owner DAN SNYDER).
As executive vice president of the Cincinnati Bengals, KATIE BLACKBURN oversees all aspects of the business from marketing and ticket sales to contract negotiations. Granddaughter of Pro Football Hall of Famer PAUL BROWN and daughter of Bengals owner MIKE BROWN, Blackburn has been involved with the franchise since its inception. A board member of the United Way & Community Chest and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati, Blackburn ensures the Bengals make a positive and lasting impact in the community. Blackburn also serves as chair of the NFL’s Super Bowl advisory committee.
As owner/vice chairman of the board, RITA BENSON LE BLANC is the second-highest ranking executive overseeing management alongside owner TOM BENSON. LeBlanc’s concentration is focused on the overall governance and the financial and civic impact of the Saints in New Orleans, both regionally and on an international level. As a member of Super Bowl XLVII’s New Orleans Host Committee, LeBlanc worked closely with the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation. Super Bowl XLVII produced a $480 million net impact for the region as it welcomed over 100,000 football fans to the city in 2013.
LeBlanc has been a driving force behind the Saints’ success both on and off the field. She oversees more than $7 million in annual charitable contributions, goods and services donated by the Saints to serve New Orleans and the entire region. LeBlanc’s close working relationship with the league office has proved to be beneficial in securing grants and programs that benefit Gulf
South youth and charitable initiatives. Another longstanding part of the club’s community initiatives has been with one of the NFL’s most comprehensive commitments to youth football. Since 2006, LeBlanc and the Saints have distributed over $2 million to high school and youth football organizations.
The impact of women permeates the NFL at all levels, with some key women at the helm of NFL teams and in important positions at the league.