Pink Is Not My Color, Sports

I am not a pink person. Pink, as in, the color pink. (aka Pink-thinking)

I grew up playing sports. I come from a sports family. I was a tomboy. Back then, pink meant girly – not sporty.  I didn’t view myself as anything remotely close to being “girly”. At a certain age I did, but not as a little girl playing sports.

I had a mom, two sisters and a brother who played sports. In the case of my mom, she loved sports and supported her kids’ ventures into sports. To this day, she is a die-hard sports fan even at her advanced age (no, I’m not telling you her age). Playing football, running, shooting hoops, hitting the ball, swimming — I viewed that as a normal thing that girls did. It wasn’t a “gender” issue to me – girls sports vs boys sports. It was just sports

As I grew to become more of a sports fan rather than athlete, I didn’t view it any differently. I wasn’t a girl who was a sports fan. I was a sports fan. That’s been my thought-process for as long as I can remember. It’s in that context that I am constantly perplexed by the phrase, “marketing to the female fan” or “marketing to women”. Oh, wait! One more, “appeal to the female fan base”.

*

Why do sports leagues, teams and brands feel the need to “market to women”? Will “pink” shirts really entice more women to buy their product or watch their respective sport? Much of this topic was discussed at the Sports Business Journal Game Changers’ Conference today. Several attendees were tweeting insights from the conference speakers.

That pink-thinking I mentioned…yeah…

*

Labels. Why is it that sports entities feel the need to label me as a “female sports fan”? Is “pink” the only way to link me with sports? Do they really think I can be enticed by throwing out a pink jersey and associate it with a cause? Why not add a female to a key character in a commercial like this? (I like food too, Buffalo Wild Wings. I like hanging with other sports fans. I’ll share my chicken wings if necessary. Well, maybe not!)

This video from BWW is geared toward men. But, what about it is marketed toward men? 

  • 1) Food
  • 2) Beer
  • 3) Sports bar atmosphere
  • 4) Friends 
  • 5) Food & sports intertwined in the “action”
  • 6) Announcer voice
  • 7) Victory (guy gets food)

If one wanted to really market to women, why not put a woman in place of one of the guys, in a non-pink jersey? I enjoy going to a sports bar and hanging out with other sports fans. I may not yell out loud during a game but burgers, wings, nacho — I’m in!! 

*

Want to know how to market “to” me? Speak my language. I’m a mom that cares about her family. I care about saving money and providing for my family. I care about paying my bills. I care about the things that matter to my kids. I care about the world around them. I care about the good in sports not being discussed enough these days.

Tell me, how do you “market to” that? 

***

FINAL THOUGHTS: Every woman is different – every “female sports fan” is different. I’m at a loss when it comes to the whole notion of marketing to women. Maybe that’s because I’m not a marketer. I’m not in sales. I don’t try to influence anyone into “buying” a product, so I don’t think in those terms. Maybe if I was, I’d understand it better.

I asked a friend of mine to help clarify things. He pointed out another way of looking at the BWW commercial above – from a man’s point of view. Frankly, I didn’t see it until he pointed it out to me. 

And, maybe that’s the point. I don’t see myself like what sports brands, leagues and teams see. I just see myself as a fan.

If only they could too.

***

CadChica Sports

Speaking the Fans’ Language(s)

In my day job, I see tweets, upon tweets, upon tweets.

Seriously.

I see thousands of tweets each day. But, there was one tweet that caught my eye recently that stood out from the rest.

Upon further investigation, I found one from a different Cal State Northridge Twitter account:

When I think of Spanish tweeting sports accounts, I think of Major League Baseball. Their @LasMayores Twitter account tweets league, team news solely in Spanish. At last check, they had over 112k followers. (Side note: They have 113k Likes on Facebook as well.) In addition to LasMayores, there are 15 MLB teams with Spanish-language Twitter accounts – some of which joined the platform as early as 2009.

Tweets in Spanish from a team account were nothing new to me. So, why did the Cal State Northridge tweets pique my curiosity? They weren’t the first in college to do so. The Miami Hurricanes follow the MLB model with a Spanish-specific account of their own, @LosHuricanes. Big Hispanic/Latino influence in Miami, the Canes understand their audience.

So what was it about these other tweets then?

They came from what looked like to me, a predominantly English speaking account at a non-power conference school. Fascinating and innovative. But, what was the impetus for this?

According to Kevin Strauss, Assistant Sports Information Director at Cal State Northridge (CSUN), this is actually another step in their fan engagement process. Fan engagement in terms of asking for fan input and…listening to it. Says Strauss, On June 2nd, we launched the “Rise of the Matadors” pride campaign. In addition to new logos and word marks for our athletics department, our goal was and is to connect back with the roots of the University. According to census data, nearly half of all residents in Los Angeles identify themselves as hispanic (CSUN is located in Northridge, CA, a suburb inside Los Angeles city limits). Knowing our community and providing our news and updates in English and Spanish helps us reach all of those that are invested in our University and programs.

This initiative isn’t a new thing for CSUN. Back in 2010, Strauss says, CSUN began recapping stories with a Spanish translation for men’s soccer. According to Strauss, CSUN’s Director of Communication, Jorge Martin, and his team, “have made Spanish-language news a priority high on our list”. Tweeting sports news in Spanish is a natural evolution in the Matadors efforts to connect with fans.

 

*

CSUN isn’t the only one who is venturing to connect with their Hispanic/Latino fanbase. The Pacific Tigers of the West Coast Conference (WCC)will be highlighting the return of men’s soccer with some Spanish-specific initiatives later this month.

I spoke with WCC Associate Commissioner Jeff Tourial about the Tigers’ plans. Tourial is in charge of Broadcast Administration & Strategic Communications for the conference which includes their livestream platform at TheW.tv.

Men’s soccer was recently added back to the Pacific Tiger sports fold this year after a nearly 20 year hiatus at the Division I level. As part of the process, Tourial says, Pacific is aiming to broadcast at least two of their men’s soccer games later this month in both English and Spanish. Along with the broadcasts, @PacificMSoccer will begin sending occasional tweets in Spanish. Tourial told me that all broadcasts will be available on mobile and tablet devices as well as online making it easy for fans to watch Tigers’ soccer.

CSUN and Pacific display the best asset for any school, team or brand when it comes to social media: listening.

But, they’re also speaking their fans’ language.

In this case, bilingually.

Know of any other teams or schools stepping up their efforts to reach the Hispanic/Latino community? Let me know on Twitter, @CadChica.

***

CadChica Sports

Stirring Passion Beyond Social Media

I’ve seen the video. 

Wish I hadn’t, but I couldn’t write anything on this topic if I didn’t. 

The “it” I’m referring to is the video (now former) Baltimore Raven, Ray Rice, hitting his then-fiancee (now wife), Janay Rice in an elevator. You’ll have to Google it – I’m not embedding it in this post. There are enough click-hunting websites around to help you out.  Rice knocked out his fiancee with a punch. 

Knocked her out! And dragged her, yes dragged, her out of the elevator he hit her in. 

No disputing the video. No excuses. Nothing to explain away. It’s there for all to see. And, all to tweet and post updates about on respective social media feeds with passion.

Opinions are a dime-a-dozen. With a situation like the Rice one, social media is an easy vehicle in which to share those opinions. It also provides a fascinating look into the human psyche. Hatred, vitriol, condemnation, judgement – all sprinkled inside “opinions”. That begs the question, 

What are we going to do about it? 

 

It’s easy to tweet, post, share…whatever. It’s not always easy to “do” something. I say this because there is always a story behind the story. What was going on in Rice’s mind to hit a woman? What led up to it? No, not Janay’s actions. But, something triggered this in him somewhere in his life. Was it when he was a child? Was it as a teenager? Was it a culmination of everything in his life up to that point? Hard to believe that on that day he thought hitting was the way to solve the issue. If that’s the case, then please prove me wrong. If so, then it’s up to us as a society to change that. But, it has to be started early. 

I’m doing my best based on what I know to teach my sons. Based on what I know. What I was taught and observed throughout my life affects what and how I teach them, just as it does with Ray Rice and others like him. Only as they grow will I know if I instilled the right values and skills or not. I am challenged every single day to teach and model the right things in front of them. Is it enough? I’m not perfect – no one is. But, I’m investing in the next generation through my sons and organizations that aim to help kids around the world be positive members of society. 

So, instead of tweeting your horror about the Baltimore Ravens and their public relations fiasco or Roger Goodell’s job as NFL Commissioner, I’ll ask you — What are you going to do about it?

***

That story behind the story I mentioned….yeah, there’s also another side of the story. One that most people in sports media aren’t discussing today. There is the victim, Janay Rice, and, oh…the Rice’s daughter, Rayven. 

*

Rayven and Janay will live with this the rest of their lives. We won’t. We’ll move on to the next hot sports topic. Tweet, post and share our “hot takes” or display our incomparable sarcastic wit. And move on to the next thing next week. Or, maybe even tomorrow. We’ll forget.

That’s the challenge for all of us. Me included. To not forget. To remember what stirred that passion in us in the first place. The passion that made us tweet, share, post our anger, discontent, frustration should drive us to be the change not just say, there needs to be change

If we do that, maybe then, there won’t be another Rayven or Janay. 

Be the change you wish to see in the***

CadChica Sports