Hey Ladies! The Dodgers Want You as Fans

Dodgers turn to in-stadium yoga, "Stitch 'n Pitch" parties to cater to women.

September 27, 2009, 5:23 PM

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 27, 2009— -- A recent Saturday at Dodgers stadium saw "downward dogs" replace "Dodger Dogs," as dozens of women unrolled their yoga mats on the outfield.

Another night brought more than 300 knitting arts enthusiasts to a Dodger game for "Stitch n' Pitch" night.

And every Wednesday, veteran sportscaster Jeanne Zelasko broadcasts an online play-by-play that speaks specifically to female fans.

It is all part of a marketing initiative created by Dodgers' CEO Jamie McCourt called "Dodgers WIN," which stands for Women's Initiative Network.

During an interview at Dodgers Stadium, McCourt explained how when she first brought the idea of trying to cater to female fans to the club's chief operating officer, he had doubts.

"He says, 'It's ridiculous, it's crazy,' and I thought, 'you know what, I'm going to do it, now it's a challenge,' and that's how it started," McCourt said.

As one of the highest ranking women in Major League Baseball, a traditionally male-dominated organization, McCourt is accustomed to a challenge, but it doesn't take a marketing genius to see how targeting baseball's fairer sex makes good business sense.

Female fans make up more than 45 percent of MLB fans, more than any other professional sport.

At a recent Dodger's game, many of the women were longtime fans, able to rattle off statistics and criticize plays with the best of them.

So why cater to fans you already have?

Because, unlike days of old when women were thought to bring in the boys at Ladies Days, now they bring in the bucks.

"I always say that behind every man is a woman with her checkbook," McCourt said.

Dodgers CEO Courts Female Fans Like No Other

Yoga Day was hosted by star hitter Andre Ethier and, at $100 a ticket, brought in $9,100. A recent women's baseball clinic and luncheon brought in $23,000.

All of the money is going back into the WIN program and, McCourt said, may eventually be donated to women's charities.

WIN is quickly becoming its own brand and McCourt has ensured that the logo is seen everywhere in Dodger Town, even on the baseballs used at batting practice. At all home games, a WIN tent is erected where soap stars and other celebrities make appearances.

Sports teams have courted female fans to some extent for years, but rarely does it seem to go beyond selling bias-cut T-shirts and merchandise colored pink. With McCourt's initiative, it's a whole new ball game.

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