In the United States and other nations in the world, sport organizations have aggressively marketed themselves to sponsors in an effort to obtain the funds necessary to operate programs”. Sports heavily engaged in sponsorship at the professional level have included football, basketball, tennis, golf, and auto-racing. The projected future growth rate in sponsorships from industry leaders has been estimated at 20% per year. However, Corporate America has acknowledged that the sports marketing field has started to grow cluttered. Prices for sponsorship of the traditional sports has continued to rise while the number of corporate competitors has also increased. In 1989, sponsors spent$1.4 billion.
Data for 1990 indicated that combined sport marketing and sponsorship spending in the United States totaled $2.4 billion and increased to $3.5 billion in 1991. With the price of sponsorship escalating, the traditional corporate rationale may know longer suffice. Return on investment has replaced the philanthropic philosophy of the past. Corporate sponsors of sports in today’s economic environment are looking for medium that will target their specific marketing needs. “Marketing to women through the athletic medium has become an interesting and valuable tool for Corporate America”. It is estimated that by the year 2000, 61% of American women will be in the work force.
This means that increasing numbers of women will have discretionary money to spend. The number of women in decision-making roles has also continued to increase. As a market segment, women have increased in visibility and influence. A primary example has been the growth of female viewers and the resultant effect on ratings for televised sporting events. With regard to watching sports spectacles, Simmons’ Market Research Bureau found that of women who indicated that they watch sports on television, 40% watched the Super Bowl. Thirty-eight percent of these women also watched the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals.
Growth in the number of participants, spectators, and consumers of women’s sports has continued to escalate since the 1972 passage of Title IX of the Educational Amendments. The numbers of girls and women participating in sport throughout the United States increased to 37% of high school athletes and 31% of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I athletes. Growth has also been apparent outside of organized youth sport. In the adult population, there are now more female than male participants in five out of seven major fitness activities (aerobic exercise, bicycling, calisthenics, exercising with equipment, exercise walking, and swimming).