Sporting goods and apparel are the products most often presumed to be promoted through the vehicle of women’s sports. As consumers, women are known to make the majority of apparel purchases and recently have been found to comprise a large segment of the sporting goods consumers.
For example, Anne Flannery, the Manager of Spalding women’s Sports Division, found that women make 70% of the sporting goods decisions in this country. Many experts believe women represent a unique marketing opportunity because they buy for themselves, and they buy for their children and spouses.
All regions of the country are targeted by the typical corporation sponsoring women’s sport. However, the specific regions most often targeted appeared to bathe East and the West. This may be explained by the population density on both coasts. The marketing may appear to be focused more in these directions, simply because there are more people to target.
The recent growth in sponsorship of volleyball can be related to the development of beach volleyball. Tour promoters have indicated that corporate sponsorship has continued to increase resulting in more events, participants, spectators, prize money, and sponsorship dollars. In addition, the 1996 Olympic Games will include beach volleyball as a medal sport.
This recognition has helped establish beach volleyball as a legitimate and lucrative activity worthy of the sponsorship dollars and attention realized by other professional sports. In the collegiate segment, women’s basketball has experienced tremendous growth in attendance and media exposure. Indicators from the previous NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four tournaments show that growth and interest are continuing.
The event has already been sold out, one year in advance, for the 1995-1996 season, in addition, CBS sold the television rights for the Cabwomen’s Basketball Final Four to ESPN for $19 million. In the past, CBS has covered a few select games of the women’s tournament including the women’s championship. However, their efforts were more directed towards the Men’s NCAA Basketball Championship tournament. With ESPN covering the entire women’s tournament, sponsors will no longer compete for viewers on the same network that simultaneously covers the men’s tournament.