While most of the sports world has been focused on the NHL and the Los Angeles Kings' first-ever Stanley Cup win -- a pair of merchandise and marketing deals announced Monday by the NFL and the NBA indicate that there's also a full-court press underway to focus on the female fan base.
The National Basketball Assn.'s recent efforts include a licensing deal with New York City-based Herstar to offer two styles of high-heeled women's footwear -- a limited-edition, crystal-encrusted pump that will boost women fans a bit closer to the rim thanks to a 6-inch heel and 3-inch platform ($249.99), with a not-quite-as-steep microsuede version with a 4-inch heel and 1-inch platform ($99.99). Both versions are blinged-out by hand in each of the 30 NBA team color combinations with the franchise logo emblazoned across either the side (for the crystal version) or top (microsuede) of the vamp.
And as industry trade paper WWD first reported, fashion-forward football fans can expect to see some sort of limited-edition shirt from Marchesa -- a label better known for the runway than the sidelines -- released in collaboration with the NFL. League representatives confirm that there is, indeed, something in the works with that luxury label, but they declined to offer any additional details as to price, availability or even what kind of shirts (T-shirts? fancy tops?) we might expect to see.
According to WWD, whatever kind of shirt it is "will make its debut during the NFL's two weeks of kickoff festivities in New York planned around the Sept. 5 New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys opener."
Apparently the still-in-the-works collaboration became prematurely public knowledge last week during a photo shoot for the NFL's upcoming female-focused print advertising campaign featuring high-profile football fans like former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, mogul spouse Melania Trump, DJ Kiss (a.k.a. JaKissa Taylor-Semple), Olympic swimmer Summer Sanders, former Miss USA Susie Castillo, owner spouse Suzanne Johnson (husband Woody owns the New York Jets) and "Dancing With the Stars" dancers Peta Murgatroyd and Kym Johnson, which is scheduled to hit the September issues of assorted fashion glossies.
But, while the Marchesa news may set the bar for sideline style a good deal higher, league reps point out that the NFL's outreach efforts to female fans is now in its third year. Last year's theme was "rivalry," we were told, and this year the campaign's theme is: "It's My Team."
Except for Los Angeles where there's been no "my" in "home team" since 1995.
-- Adam Tschorn
Photos: Behind-the-scenes images from the Friday photo shoot for the NFL's upcoming female-fan-focused "It's My Team" campaign, which included at top (left to right) DJ Kiss, actress and former Miss USA Susie Castillo and Olympic swimmer Summer Sanders (Credit: Esther Nisanova/NFL). At middle, the two styles of newly licensed NBA high heels from Herstars include a microsuede pump with a 4-inch heel (shown in Clipper colorway and logo, $99.99) and a crystal-encrusted pump with a 6-inch heel (shown in Laker colorway and logo, $249.99). Credit: NBA