Does Mom Love Bull Riding? Tyson Foods Betting Yes

PHOTO: Fabiano Vieira rides Hot Toddy at the Professional Bull Riders Monster Energy InvitationalAnthony Behar/Sipa USA/AP Photo
Fabiano Vieira rides Hot Toddy at the Professional Bull Riders Monster Energy Invitational in New York, Jan. 4, 2013.

Tyson Foods has found a novel way to reach America's moms: through bull riding.

The company has agreed to be a sponsor of the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) championships later this month in Las Vegas, including a bull-riding fan expo at Mandalay Bay Resort.

"Mom and her family are the focal point of our Tyson-branded advertising, messaging and product innovation," Tyson spokesman Worth Sparkman said in a statement, "and there are a lot of moms who watch PBR events."

There are?

Turns out he's right. According to market research commissioned by PBR, some 25 million fans follow bull riding. Of those, 43 percent are women. Asked what might be the appeal of bull riding to women, let alone moms, Denise Abbott, a spokesman for PBR, noted that PBR's market research didn't ask fans, male or female, why they like the sport.


PBR's own description of bull riding begins, "Buckle up. This is not a rodeo. We don't rope calves, and we don't chase barrels. This is bull riding, and the first rule is just to stay alive."

Sara Muirheid, director of sales, marketing and broadcast properties for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), has numbers that back up PBR's: Rodeos have a fan base of 31 million, she said. Of those, 5.5 million attend in person and exactly half of those attendees are women.

Of the attendees, 63 percent are between the ages of 25 and 54, according to the PRCA, which sounds an awful lot like mom-country.

"It's funny," Muirheid told ABC News. "Our TV ratings are skewing higher on the female side."

Through bull riding, Tyson said it hopes to reach moms much the same way Campbell Soup has reached them through Campbell's partnership with the National Football League. Campbell TV commercials showcase moms of famous players.


Scott Becher, an expert on sports sponsorship and managing director of Z Sports and Entertainment, a division of Zimmerman Advertising in Ft. Lauderdale, sees the PBR-Tyson matchup as a marriage made in heaven. "Tough-guy food for a tough-guy sport," he called it.

Yes, but how about for non-tough-guy moms?

Becher explained why the link-up makes sense, whether or not mom is bull-crazy. "The name of the game is incremental sales at retail," he said. "To maximize sales, you want to connect with both the purchaser as well as the purchase-influencer."

Meaning: Even if mom couldn't give a hoof about bull riding, her son or husband might, and, to keep that influencer happy, she might buy him Tyson.