In this run up to the Super Bowl, there has been a lot of media discussion about the influence of female fans on the success of sporting events, in general. In a recent MediaLife article, Heidi Dawley, mentions a study by Initiative Sports Futures that finds that more and more women are watching the world's top sporting events....
The article quotes Kevin Alavy, head of anayltics for Initiative Sports:
"Rather than just being about the pure competitive elements of it, the personalities off the field are becoming as important as the technical skills on the field."
He goes on to say that the increasing salaries for these professional athletes usually lead to more aspirational lifestyles, which then make people interested in them as celebrities, in addition to or beyond their sports status. If that were solely the case, celebrity fades and the fan might not stick around season after season.
Instead, it might be that by the time the "glitz" wears off, the sports fan has sunk his or her teeth into the game, built some community with like-minded others, and is planning to stick around for a while. What draws your fans to the sport, or customers to your brand, at first, may be one thing (lifestyle, celebrity...), but what keeps them watching/buying is the connection they have then built with those who share that interest.
David Beckham's recent arrival in Los Angeles and outrageous salary will be old news soon enough, but by then a whole new group of female fans who had initially been attracted by his looks/lifestyle (yawn) may well have discovered they like the game of soccer. I'm betting on that.
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