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FYI Guy

Seattle Times news librarian Gene Balk crunches the numbers

January 8, 2015 at 4:52 PM

Majority of Seattle-area women now follow pro football

It’s no secret that the NFL has been working hard to grow its female fan base in the past few years. So, the league must be loving Seattle right now.

For the first time, football fandom has spread to the majority of women in the Seattle area. According to newly-released survey data from Scarborough Research, 51 percent of local women identify as “somewhat” or “very” (as opposed to “a little bit” or “not at all”) interested in the NFL — up from 30 percent just two years ago.

Scarborough surveys thousands of people in the Seattle-Tacoma market each year. For the most recent release, 3,999 adults age 18 and older were surveyed between September 2013 and August 2014.

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Fresh off a Super Bowl victory, it’s no surprise that the Seahawks attracted a lot of new fans — men and women alike. But the Hawks are attracting women to the game at a much faster clip than men. According to Scarborough, the NFL has gained 650,000 new followers in the Seattle market in the last two years — and two out of three of them are women.

There are now an estimated 1 million women in our region who express a moderate-to-high level of interest in pro football.

Digging deeper into the data, it’s clear that these 1 million female fans have just as much team spirit as the men. The women are equally as interested in purchasing season tickets, and they are willing to spend about as much for a single-game seat. They are still a little less likely to have attended a live game in the past year, but they beat out the men for donning Hawks-branded apparel.

However, for Seattle’s women fans, the passion for the game tends to be more Seahawks-specific than the men. Women are less likely to watch a game in which the Hawks might not be playing, such as a Monday Night football broadcast or a game on the NFL cable network. Female NFL fans here are also less likely to follow college football than male fans.

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And when it comes to geeking out on the game, however, guys are still in the lead. The data show that women are not as likely as men to watch the NFL draft telecast, and hardly any in Seattle are into fantasy football.

That makes sense, since it’s only recently that the league has been courting women, and a much higher percentage of female fans are new converts to the game. A second Seahawks Super Bowl will no doubt ensure the numbers continue to climb.

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