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Women’s impact on NFL keeps growing

Super Bowl 50 averaged 52.6 million female viewers, making it the most-watched show among women of all time behind Super Bowl XLIX. Since 2010, Super Bowls represent the seven most-watched shows ever among women.

Additionally, more women watched Super Bowl 50 than the combined male and female audience for both the 2016 Academy Awards (34.4 million) and the 2016 Grammy Awards (24.9 million).

According to ESPN Sportspoll, women sports fans choose the NFL over any other sport. More than twice as many women identify the NFL as their favorite sport (22.7 percent) ahead of second place MLB (11.2 percent). The gap between the NFL and MLB has never been bigger in the history of this measurement.

Women are not just watching and following the NFL.
They’re making a difference both on and off the field in various roles.

Kathryn Smith of the Buffalo Bills was named the team’s special teams quality control coach in January, making history as the first female full-time assistant coach in NFL history. “The reaction has been pretty extraordinary and I realize that it’s groundbreaking,” says Smith. “I might be the first but I think very quickly there are going to be many other women in the league. So I may be the first but I don’t think I’ll be the only one for very long. There are so many other females in very important roles in football organisations. So many other departments have women. So I might be the first female coach but I’m not the only woman in the building dealing with the coaches or players on a daily basis.”

At the league office, Jocelyn Moore – former Deputy Staff Director of the Senate Finance Committee and, most recently, Managing Director in The Glover Park Group’s Government Affairs Division – was recently named the NFL’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs. Moore will lead the league’s public policy and legislative agenda and coordinate closely with NFL clubs on local and salient legislative and regulatory issues. “The NFL’s platform has the ability to drive progress on a number of critical and complex issues,” says Moore. “I look forward to working with Members of Congress to help shape policy in a number of important areas facing not only sports, but our country more broadly.”

Among the other accomplished women with key roles around the league are those using sports as a vehicle for change and making a positive impact in the community. Examples of some women changing the sports philanthropy game include Rosie Bone, Jennifer Davenport, Gretchen Geitter, Cindy Kellogg, Joanne Pasternack and Allison Standby.

Rosie Bone is in her 15th season with the Oakland Raiders and her second as Senior Vice President – Community Relations and Public Affairs. She oversees alumni relations, community relations, event operations, public affairs and the Raiders Foundation.

As the Vice President of Marketing and Community Development at the Houston Texans, Jennifer Davenport oversees community development, game day entertainment, youth football initiatives and targeted fan development. Additionally, she runs the Houston Texans Foundation and spearheads merchandise sales and regional brand growth, including broadcast partnerships.

With more than 20 seasons with the Buffalo Bills, Gretchen Geitter is Vice President of Community Relations and President of the Buffalo Bills Foundation. She oversees all aspects of community outreach, including community programs and events, charitable giving, donations and team involvement in the community.

Molly Higgins is the Vice President of Community Affairs and Engagement for the Los Angeles Rams. In her role, Higgins oversees the team’s community outreach efforts to bring together the players, cheerleaders, coaches and staff to help positively impact the lives of children and families in the Los Angeles region and create lasting memories.

Responsible for all aspects of charitable giving, community relations programming, player community participation and strategic stewardship planning, Cindy Kellogg serves as the Denver Broncos VP of Community Development.

As the Vice President and Executive Director of Community Relations and the 49ers Foundation for the San Francisco 49ers, Joanne Pasternack oversees all community relations functions for the team, creating and managing high-visibility programs based on the organization’s objectives and areas of focus, leveraging the power of community involvement to share the importance of respect and its central role in helping young people become outstanding community citizens.

Allison Stangeby is the Vice President of Community and Corporate Relations at the New York Giants, as well as the Director for The Giants Foundation. Stangeby serves as the liaison between the team and the surrounding community. She is responsible for utilizing the resources of the team, including the time and talents of the team’s current and alumni players, to benefit organisation’s and individuals in the tri-state area.

The impact of women permeates the NFL at all levels, with some key women at the helm of NFL teams and in important positions at the league.

Article written by:

Liz has covered the NFL for five seasons, and currently serves as Managing Editor for Ninety-Nine Yards and for her own website, NFLGirlUK.com. Since launching the website in 2014, she has made regular appearances on the TalkSport2 ‘All American Sports Show’ with Nat Coombs and in 2016 was ranked No.37 (of 400+) in the “Super Bowl: Top 50 UK Influencers” by marketing software producers Analytica for “igniting conversations” between fans.

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