In December, the Carolina Panthers football team announced that the franchise will be up for sale following the completion of the 2017 season. Early signals indicate that the Panthers may be entering new and unprecedented territory in NFL fan engagement as the ownership changes hands in 2018.
The current owner is one of many high-profile individuals currently facing allegations of misconduct in the workplace. Recent developments in the sale of the team suggest that the franchise and its fans are going to act quickly to remedy these allegations in order to regain the trust and respect of female staff and fans. We think one likely outcome will be an NFL team with a unique focus on female fan engagement.
Why Women are Important to the NFL
The NFL began receiving criticism from female fans back in 2014, following its handling of the Ray Rice domestic assault case. In the years since that time, the league has been careful to make sure that women know how important they are to the league.
Women currently make up about half of the league’s fan base, and many marketers believe that women continue to represent the league’s biggest opportunity for growth in years to come. Women are important consumers of promotional merchandise; they give NFL-related gifts to their families and friends; and they are primary consumers of the high-end concessions that permeate modern NFL stadiums.
With this relatively recent shift in priorities, the NFL has begun sponsoring market research, expanding merchandise options targeted toward women, and even buying full-page layouts in popular women’s magazines. For the entire month of October, many teams have begun wearing pink uniforms to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The league has obviously acknowledged that female fans represent an important interest for both its teams and its sponsors.
The Long List of Potential Suitors for the Carolina Panthers
The league’s recent focus on women may now play an important role in the selection of a new ownership group for the Carolina Panthers. Allegations against the current ownership include misconduct motivated by both race and gender – and the list of interested buyers reflects a genuine desire to address both of those issues. The early list of potential buyers is a broad and diverse who’s who of the American entertainment industry in 2018.
When the sale of the team was initially announced, the Panthers also announced that daily operation of the franchise is being handled by COO Tina Becker – suggesting that the team may be keen to find female management and possibly ownership. And one of the early frontrunners is no other than Oprah Winfrey. Oprah has certainly demonstrated her business acumen over the years, as she has become arguably the most successful female business owner in the world. Her presence as the owner of the Panthers would certainly signal a strong and serious intent to remedy the allegations against the current ownership – both in terms of race and gender.
Many successful minority men from the worlds of sports and entertainment have also thrown their hats into the ring to campaign for the rights to the franchise. Music mogul P. Diddy indicated his interest as soon as the sale was announced. Retired NBA star Michael Jordan, and current star Steph Curry – both from North Carolina – have said they would be interested in owning a share of the team. Any of these individuals, or a combination of several of them, would represent the first African-American majority owner in the NFL.
Other people who have signaled their interest include recently retired NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr., WWE owner Vince McMahon, and North Carolina insiders Steve and Jerry Wordsworth.
Focusing on Female Fan Engagement on the Tailgating Lot
Here at TGSM, we’re excited about the new page that is being turned over in Carolina. We are a woman-owned company with women in key places throughout our management team – and our tailgating fan engagement assets are uniquely suited to attract and engage female fans on the tailgating lot.
In the past, the tailgating lot has not been a top destination for women – largely because of the negative perception of the portable toilets that are common there. Our mobile fan engagement assets eliminate this issue – and their socially-connected design means that word spreads fast. On NFL tailgating lots around the country, we have demonstrated a profound impact on the number of women who attend tailgating events – and the length of time they stay on the lot.
Each TGSM mobile fan engagement asset includes a full suite of high-capacity state-of-the-art luxury restrooms. The experience for your fans is not only sanitary, but actually enjoyable, as they are pampered on the tailgating lot with privacy stalls, authentic china toilets, hot water hand wash, and all-season climate control for a comfortable and happy experience.
From Fan Engagement to Converting New Customers
When fans approach the TGSM asset, they receive a branded push notification to let them know that a free Wi-Fi network is available. As long as they remain in range of the trailer, they have unlimited access to our high-speed network. As they get closer to the unit, they are immersed in an interactive experience that includes stereo broadcast audio, digital video screens and multiple high-definition video walls, interactive games, and a socially-connected selfie booth.
At every step along the way, the experience is designed to cultivate fan engagement. Various beacons and sensors monitor the flow of fans around the asset, allowing you to harvest a wealth of anonymous data to determine the attractiveness and effectiveness of different imagery and messaging. And at the end of the day, you are left with a large volume of actionable data that can be used to convert your fans into loyal repeat customers.
We’re hoping that the TGSM fan engagement asset will find a new home at the Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. We think it is a perfect complement to the stadium’s fan engagement experience, and we know of no other tool that has such dramatic effect on the attendance and social buzz of female fans. If you’re interested to learn more about TGSM mobile fan engagement assets, give us a call today at (888) 995-2285.